Under The Radar Violence
In The Conflict Over Abortion
The largest of these, and the subject of this report, is women who are attacked for refusing to have abortions.
Over the years, we have collected data on a large volume of these cases, the bulk of which are non- fatal assaults. Although the victims of these attacks often suffer horrifying and crippling physical injuries, we chose to concentrate solely on instances in which the victim died. Therefore, those are the only types of case histories you will find in this document.
It is crucial to understand that, whether the issue is injury or death, several factors make it impossible to do a comprehensive study of this subject.
The most powerful of them is the hard-wired human instinct for self-preservation. It dictates that most people are going to do what they are told if the alternative is to be the recipient of pain and violence – especially if the end result could be their death.
Pregnant women are certainly not immune to this. When told that they will be beaten, shot, stabbed or worse unless they have abortions, almost all of them are going to comply. The problem is that, while this is an entirely understandable response, it virtually guarantees that no one will ever know about the violence done to these women. From a research perspective, these cases become invisible at the moment the victims decide not to end up in the police station, the emergency room or the morgue.
Also contributing to this invisibility is the abortion stigma mentioned earlier. Despite almost 40 years of legality, this stigma remains as strong as ever and it prevents the vast majority of women from wanting others to know about their abortions – even if those abortions were forced upon them. Clearly, this is going to significantly reduce the number of cases in any study about abortion-related violence.
Another factor that makes these cases difficult to uncover is the deceptive manner in which the media reports on them.
It is hardly a secret that the American press corps is, with almost no exceptions, firmly attached to the “pro-choice” side of the debate and, during our research, it became clear that this bias impacts their coverage of this area of abortion-related violence.
For example, when we were able to obtain copies of police reports, indictments, court records or other similar documentation for these cases, they would almost universally show that when a perpetrator is confronted by an unwanted pregnancy, his first response is not violence but a demand that his partner have an abortion. When violence ensues, it is inevitably a reaction to her refusal to comply.
However, the media’s coverage of these incidents often contains no mention of abortion. Instead, they either portray women who are attacked for refusing to have abortions as women who are attacked for getting pregnant, or they characterize the incident as one of simple “domestic violence” in which the victim’s pregnancy is basically inconsequential.
The effects of these manufactured illusions are twofold. First, they take violent episodes in which abortion is the driving force and quietly remove abortion from the equation. Second, they reduce – and sometimes eliminate – the possibility that these cases will ever be uncovered, much less studied.
The bottom line to all of this is simple.
In almost every incident in which women are told that they will be physically harmed unless they abort, they are going to comply, never tell anyone and, thus, fade into anonymity. For those who resist and end up on a stretcher or an autopsy table, they can expect to have their experiences hidden under a thick blanket of media deception.
From these realities, the inescapable conclusion is that the case studies in this document can represent no more than the tiniest tip of an enormous iceberg.