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Abortion Drugs Have Become the Latest Tool in Domestic Violence…

Abortion Drugs Have Become the Latest Tool in Domestic Violence…

An expectant mother should be thinking of baby names and all of the happy things associated with the birth of a new child — not fighting for her life and the life of her unborn.

But that’s what happened to Texas mother Catherine Herring as the victim of an abortion-pill attack. 

“I was unwillingly and unknowingly poisoned with chemical abortion pills seven separate times by my husband,” she recalled in an email to the Register about her harrowing ordeal. “Our daughter miraculously survived with the quick action of a pregnancy hotline nurse.”

Unfortunately, her case is not an isolated incident.

States across the nation have passed recent legislation on coerced and unwanted abortions. The circumstances of these abortions coincide with the risks of abortion pills, which the Biden administration has deregulated.

Louisiana Senate Bill 276, termed the Catherine and Josephine Herring Act, after Catherine and her daughter, was signed into law in late May, making it the only state to categorize mifepristone and misoprostol as “controlled dangerous substances.” It also imposes up to 20 years in prison and $100,000 in fines on those who would defraud or force someone to take abortion medication, depending on the victim’s stage of pregnancy.

Advocating for Women and Children

State Sen. Thomas Pressly, the Louisiana bill’s sponsor, is the brother of Catherine and uncle of Josephine.

His personal connection to coerced abortion was palpable in an interview with the Register. 

As he recounted: “My sister was the victim of a terrible domestic-violence attack where her then-husband tried to kill their third child, who was then in utero, by grinding up misoprostol and placing it into drinks on seven different occasions and handing them to my sister. … I just felt like this was a commonsense piece of legislation to put additional steps in place … [as] we want to make sure that they don’t get in the hands of bad actors.” 

Abortion is illegal in Louisiana, but Pressly explained that “misoprostol is already a prescribed drug in Louisiana and nationally,” and easy access allows these drugs to be utilized by people who “are trying to commit horrible crimes against women and the unborn.”

Catherine Herring’s horrific experience prompts her to ensure such a scenario never happens to any other women. 

“Abortion pills are inherently dangerous,” she told the Register. “I would encourage every state to protect women and children from the harmful weaponization of abortion pills.” Under Texas’ previous laws, Catherine’s ex-husband, Mason Herring, was sentenced to only 180 days in jail.

The newly signed Louisiana law addresses the risk of easily accessible abortion pills, such as mifepristone, which the Supreme Court upheld in its June ruling Food & Drug Admin. v. All. for Hippocratic Med. The challenge was rejected due to the plaintiff-doctors lacking proper standing. Under current Food and Drug Administration regulations, mifepristone is available without an in-person doctor’s visit.

Katie Glenn Daniel, state policy director for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told the Register that “abortion drugs have become a tool of domestic violence.” Regarding the loosening regulations on drugs like misoprostol, she emphasized that online prescriptions do not allow for proper coercion screening, saying that “the switch to the internet has really removed all of the medical safeguards.” 

Through online platforms like apps, she explained, “you don’t have to speak to anyone, see anyone on video. You fill in some information, and they’ll send you the drugs, and they’ll do it for minors as well as adults. So it should come as no surprise, given that landscape, that these pills are getting into the hands of abusers and traffickers.”

Christina Bennett, news correspondent from LiveAction.org, underscored the dire reality in an email to the Register, saying that “in many situations doctors or nurses, hospital workers, etc., aren’t able to ask a patient if she’s being pressured to end the pregnancy. Therefore, with abortion pills being sent out through the mail, abortion coercion could increase. 

“We know many abortion providers are willing to overlook coercion and not ask women questions in regards to forced abortion. My mother sought an abortion with me and the ‘counselor’ at the hospital didn’t ask her any questions. My mother was being coerced by my father and was never asked about it. Thankfully a janitor spoke to her, giving her the strength to walk out.” 

“We’re also seeing men mobilizing other men to promote abortion,” she added. “This can increase coercion, as more men will believe they are doing the right thing, encouraging their partners to abort. Coercion comes in in many forms, from physical abuse to emotional manipulation and deception.”

Kansas Combats Coercion

A recent law in Kansas, House Bill 2436, also addressed abortion coercion. The state Legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto, making it a felony to pressure a woman into an abortion. Her veto referred to pressured or forced abortions as someone “undergoing a medical procedure against their will.” 

The Register spoke with Kansas state Rep. Ron Bryce, a Republican and medical physician. He is involved with numerous pieces of pro-life legislation, including H.B. 2313, which sought to provide protection to infants born alive after failed abortions. That legislation was also vetoed by Kelly and later overridden.

Regarding the new felony classification for abortion coercion, Bryce said, “It addresses an assault on women.” It also concerns combating human trafficking and prostitution: “Women are being trafficked for sex, and they are being forced by their pimps to have abortions. … It’s just an extension of this disregard for human life.”

Bryce called opposition to the legislation “appalling” and added, “I really believe that they are bought into this culture of death rather than really taking the side of the women who are in these troubled pregnancies.”

Danielle Underwood, director of communications of Kansans for Life, also sounded the alarm on the deregulation of abortion pills, saying, “Unfortunately, with abortion chemicals being easier than ever to access, incidents of abortion coercion are very likely to increase.”

The shocking prevalence of unwanted abortions were highlighted in a recent study published in Cureus medical journal last May. Titled “The Effects of Abortion Decision Rightness and Decision Type on Women’s Satisfaction and Mental Health,” it revealed high rates of abortion coercion. The survey reported that 24% of women self-reported their abortions as unwanted or coerced, and 43% categorize it as accepted but “inconsistent with their values and preferences.” 

“Sadly, that research reveals that women choose abortion even when it goes against their own values. As pro-lifers, we must ask the question, ‘Why?’ Why would a pregnant woman choose to end the life of her baby when she knows it’s wrong?” Bennett of Live Action said.

“Statistics show there are 2,841 abortions daily in the U.S.: 118 abortions per hour, nearly 2 per minute, and one every 30 seconds. Women chose abortion because of desperation and fear. According to stats, the majority of women who have abortions are in their 20s (57%) and 87% of women in 2021 were unmarried. Women choosing abortion are struggling financially, lacking emotional support and in dire need of resources. Their challenging circumstances influence them to seek abortion even when it’s against their value system.” 

Dr. David Reardon, the paper’s first author, as well as the director of the Elliot Institute and an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, told the Register that these statistics would “represent over 60% of women having abortions are having unwanted abortions, meaning abortions that are contrary to their values and preferences due to pressure from others.”

He underscored, “We have a national crisis of unwanted abortions.”

This story was updated after posting to clarify the Texas case.

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