The recent cases of a Maine couple attempting to drive their teenage daughter to another state for a forced abortion and a Georgia mother arrested for making her daughter drink turpentine to cause an abortion aren't isolated incidents a researcher says.
Dr. David Reardon of the Elliot Institute says they are a part of a widespread problem.
Reardon is the co-author of a recent Medical Science Monitor study of American and Russian women that found that 64 percent of American women who had abortions reported that they felt pressured to abort by others.
His organization, which monitors the effects of abortion on women, has also prepared special research previously showing cases of violence against women who refused to have abortions.
Reardon said that cases of women being pressured, threatened, or subjected to violence if they refuse to abort are not unusual.
"In many of the cases documented for our 'Forced Abortion in America' report, police and witnesses reported that acts of violence and murder took place after the woman refused to abort or because the attacker didn't want the pregnancy," he said.
"Even if a woman isn't physically threatened, she often faces intense pressure, abandonment, lack of support, or emotional blackmail if she doesn't abort," Dr. Reardon explained. "While abortion is often described as a 'choice,' women who've been there tell a very different story."
Reardon said the report underscores the need for legislation requiring abortion businesses and health care providers to screen women for evidence of coercion or pressure to abort and to direct them to people and resources that can help them.
The state of Michigan is the first to have considered such legislation and it has already been approved by one chamber of the state legislature.
Ironically, abortion advocates oppose the anti-forced abortion bill.
"Too often, abortion clinics and others simply assume that if a woman is coming for an abortion, it is her free choice," Reardon explained.
"This 'no questions asked' policy is especially harmful to those in abusive situations, including young girls who are victims of sexual predators," Reardon concluded. "Women should not be forced into unwanted abortions and subjected to violence or pressure from others."