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|This article specifically discusses the laws in the state of Ohio, but many other states have similar laws.|
Pregnant women are vulnerable women.
Women, regardless of age, who are ex-periencing unintended pregnancy generally have a number of seemingly conflicting emotions. Some are angry that this has “happened” to them. Many, upon first learning they’re carrying a child, actually begin their emotional roller coaster feeling a sort of scared, happy excitement. Learning that there’s a new life within, for many mothers, is awe-inspiring, empowering news.
But for the mother who didn’t want to become pregnant … whose sexual relationship is built on “conditions” (the father of her child has stressed that she’d better be “using something”) … who may in fact have tried to take every precaution to prevent it from occurring … the news that she’s pregnant can elicit in her a multitude of fears which may overwhelm her.
What will the father of her child say? Will he be furious? Disappointed? Frightened? Will he threaten to end the relationship if she doesn’t “take care of it” ? Would he become violent? What if he says the baby’s not his? What if he can’t cope with the news, runs off and leaves her stranded?
And how will her parents act? Will they fly off the handle? Be disap-pointed, even very sad? Will they threaten to throw her out? Send her away? Take away her privileges? Become cold, quiet and distant?
Hopefully, she’ll be relieved to learn they’re surprisingly compassionate, calm and supportive.
But the frightened woman who has not yet shared the news of her pregnancy with anyone else might be worrying the worst possible things.
And unfortunately, sometimes the father of the child does react badly to the news. Sometimes her parents do react with anger and threats. Sometimes even her closest friends, co-workers or employer tell her she’s careless, or stupid, or even selfish. Sadly, not all relationships are healthy ones.
When she finds herself facing these unkind, unloving and unfair reactions, she is left feeling she has let everybody down. Unrealistically, she often feels she’s entirely responsible for becoming pregnant. In her mind, she has “messed up” … and maybe even “messed up” the plans other people have made for her life. She may conclude that in order to “make up” for her “mistake”, she should give in to their wishes that she “solve the problem” by having an abortion. Guilt is a powerful feeling.
But a guilt-prompted abortion will produce even more traumatizing guilt in her, when she later fully realizes she has killed her own child.
The good news is, she has several Ohio laws on her side. Her family, boyfriend or husband, or her acquaintances can criticize, make threats, throw tantrums, or attempt to manipulate her to the point of tears. But they don’t have the legal right to make her have an abortion, regardless of her age or her circumstances. She does not have to submit to an abortion, regardless of what she’s being told. She does not have to consent, regardless of what she’s being told.
Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2317.56(B)(4) states (except in the case of medical emergency):
“Prior to the performance or inducement of the abortion, the pregnant woman signs a form consenting to the abortion and certifies ... on that form ... :
“She consents to the particular abortion voluntarily, knowingly, intelligently, and without coercion by any person, and she is not under the influence of any drug of abuse or alcohol.” [italics added]
ORC Section 2919.12(A) states: “No person shall perform or induce an abortion without the informed consent of the pregnant woman.” [italics added]
Furthermore, there are laws to protect pregnant women from other forms of coercion.
ORC Section 2701.15 states:
“No person shall be ordered by a court to submit to an abortion.”
ORC Section 5101.55 (A) states:
“No person shall be ordered by a public agency or any person to submit to an abortion.”
It states further, in 5101.55 (B):
“The refusal of any person to submit to an abortion … shall not result in the loss of public assistance benefits or any other rights or privileges.”
If you know someone who is experiencing an unintended pregnancy and is being made to feel by those around her that abortion is her only “choice,” please give her this brochure and inform her that there are many genuine services available to her. Confidently explain to her: She is not alone!
If you know or suspect that she is scheduled for “counseling” at an abortion facility, please tell her that nobody is legally permitted to perform an abortion on her without her written consent.
If she does not want an abortion, or she is still unsure and needs more time to think it through, It is very important that she does not sign any papers.
Lake County Right to Life publishes a single sheet directory of agencies and facilities in NE Ohio and beyond which offer help to women who are experiencing unintended pregnancy. Please call our office at 440.255.5257 or send an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free copy.
[Editor's note: Or on-line visit www.pregnancycenters.org.]
No woman should be made to feel that abortion is her only option.
No woman should be made to feel that killing her child will solve her problems.
For the complete text of the laws cited in this brochure, contact Ohio Right to Life at 614.547.0099.
Written by Dawn Elizabeth Slike
Revised July 2008
Published and printed by
Lake County Right to Life
All Human Life is Precious
P.O. Box 1750, Mentor OH 44061
Office / Library 440.255.5257
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Written March, 2000. Posted Jan 25, 2001. Updated June 28, 2009.
Original Copyright 2000 by Dawn Slike, revised 2009. Derivative version 2001 by Pregnant Pause, revised 2009.
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