A pregnant Texas teen in Harris County is suing her parents for allegedly attempting to coerce her into an abortion.
The girl, two months along and whose identity is being protected, lamented that her parents have taken her phone and her car and have kept her home from school as punishment for not aborting. The girl also claims that her mother conspired to slip her an abortion drug.
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (passed by US Congress in 2004) criminalizes the murder of a wanted unborn child. The Act was passed after Laci Peterson, then eight months pregnant with her son Conner, was murdered by her husband in California in 2002.
Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, however, noted, “The Unborn Victims of Violence Act marked a significant step in protecting life and pregnant mothers, and we recognize the need to enact additional protections for pregnant women and teens coerced and forced into abortions. No one should force a woman to kill her unborn child.”
While parents in Texas technically cannot force their daughters to abort, the law clearly states that consent to any abortion must be voluntary. However, the voluntary consent issue becomes murky when pregnant minors are choosing life against the parent’s demands. Most pregnant teens are unaware of their rights and feel that they must comply with the wishes of their parents or boyfriends.
Texas Right to Life has worked on measures to specifically shield women and teens from coerced abortion. Even so, abortion clinics are yet to be held fully accountable for existing laws and regulations. Abortion clinics enjoy a financial interest in selling abortion—veiled as a quick solution—to hurting, vulnerable women, and these clinics cannot be trusted to screen for coercion or to ensure that consent is fully voluntary.
Until the audits and inspections of abortion clinics become stringent and until these clinics face penalties for violating current laws, all pregnant women, not just teens, are at risk once they walk through the door. While Texas Right to Life never wants to legitimize the practice of abortion by “fixing” the clinics, even we recognize that abortion clinics, like all other health care facilities, must be held accountable for following the law and must prioritize the safety and well-being of all patients—born and unborn.
Providing an abortion to a pregnant teen against her wishes in no way enhances her well-being or her safety. If abortion clinics truly offered options and care, the clinics would work with the teen and the parents to find a life-affirming solution with which they all could live, rather than endangering the teen and her unborn child—their grandchild—by pushing them into a violent situation.