Under-the-Radar Violence in the Conflict Over Abortion
What these early feminist leaders understood is that legalized abortion does not advance the cause of womens’ equality but is, instead, a safety net for sexually predatory and sexually irresponsible males. They were warning that, in practice, legalized abortion would become a mechanism for these kinds of men to avoid any commitments to the women whose bodies they use or any responsibility for the children they father.
Regrettably, that is what we see being played out in front of us today. American society has now devolved to the point where a male’s responsibility for an unplanned pregnancy he helped to create is often defined as a willingness to pay for half the abortion and provide transportation to the clinic.
This phenomenon may be best evidenced in a way that is probably unknown to most people.
Across the country, there are a significant number of anti-abortion activists who stand in front of abortion clinics and try to dissuade women from going inside. These people are called “sidewalk counselors” and most of them are female. In fact, in many locations, they are exclusively female. Generally, they provide abortion-seeking women with information about fetal development, the risks and alternatives to abortion and whatever support services may be available to them if they choose not to have abortions.
Perhaps the most revealing thing about this process is how often women who come to abortion clinics are willing to stop and talk to the sidewalk counselors, but are prevented from doing so by the males who brought them there. In many cases, these men are belligerent and it is not uncommon for them to become verbally or physically abusive toward either these women, the sidewalk counselors or both.
These incidences occur because the men involved understand whose interests are actually being served by these abortions. In effect, they are perfect illustrations of what the Susan B. Anthonys and Elizabeth Cady Stantons of the world predicted decades ago.
But the legalization of abortion also introduced another question into the mix that even they may not have anticipated. The question is: How would the kind of men who rely on abortion as a safety net react when the women they impregnate are unwilling to jump into it?
The answer to that question is found in the following case studies.
As you read them, there are several things to keep in mind. First, because of the formidable reporting barriers outlined earlier, they represent no more than a tiny fraction of the actual number of instances. In fact, they do not even include all of the instances we uncovered but are, instead, just a representative sample of them. Second, these are only episodes in which the victims died and do not include the much larger group of women who were physically injured.
It is also important to understand that the details of these cases are not at all unusual. To the contrary, they are typical of the injury and death cases we found. In fact, we often softened the descriptions of them in order to keep this report from becoming unnecessarily graphic and difficult to read.
At the beginning of each file, the victim’s name is given followed by her age, the year she was killed and the state in which her death took place. Also included is whether her refusal to have an abortion was either the Confirmed or the Self-Evident motive for her murder.
This latter designation was necessary in order to address the fact that media and law enforcement reports often state that the victim was killed because the perpetrator “was angry about the pregnancy” or “didn’t want the baby” or “claimed that the baby wasn’t his” or said that he “wasn’t ready to be a father,” etcetera. As explained earlier, our research shows that when a male displays these kinds of attitudes about his partner’s pregnancy, his first reaction will be to demand that she have an abortion. In almost every incident in which violence ensues, its motive will be that she refused to comply.