The Opposite Of ‘Pro-Choice’: Parents Try To Force Pregnant Teen To Have An Abortion

teen pregnancyMany people honestly believe that being “pro-choice” means that you’re “pro-abortion.” The idea is ignorant and false. I think there are very, very few people in this country that are “pro-abortion.” The entire point of the pro-choice movement is that women should be free to decide if and when they want to have a child. Women who become pregnant should be able to determine on their own, without any input aside from a possible medical provider, if they want to carry that pregnancy to term. Attempting to make that choice for someone else, whether it results in the birth of a child or the termination of a pregnancy, is the very opposite of pro-choice.

I explain this, because I think it’s important for people to realize that no one who is truly pro-choice would support two parents in attempting to force an abortion on their 16-year-old pregnant daughter.

Now, most of us realize that having a child at the age of 16 is not the optimal way to start a family. That being said, there are lots of very young mothers who grow up quickly, take responsibility for their children, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. We should not act like teen pregnancy automatically regulates someone to a substandard existence for the rest of their lives. And we would hope that any young girl who gets pregnant would be supported and encouraged by her family members, no matter what choice she makes.

In this case, that sadly hasn’t happened. A Houston girl has been told by her father that she must have an abortion because it’s “his choice” to make. She’s been told that her mother is attempting to slip abortion medication into her drinks or food. This young girl is going through a difficult and stressful time, and instead of being able to lean on her family, they’re making life even more difficult.

Now, this girl is rightfully suing her family for attempting to force her to have an abortion. It can be noted that this young woman has the right to sue because Roe v. Wade gives every woman the right to make her own choice about her pregnancy.

The fact is, this mother and father are sad excuses for parents. And their daughter, by standing up for her rights and asserting her independence, is already proving to be a more responsible parent than either of the two she was born to. This young woman has every right to carry her child to term and to raise that child to the best of her abilities. It won’t be easy for a teenager, but that her challenge to take.

It is incredibly disappointing that this girl won’t have the love of a close-knit family to help her. That only makes a tough job even more difficult.

It’s as simple as this: Every woman should have full control over her own reproductive health. This 16-year-old girl needs to be able to safely carry her child to term, just like another woman needs to be able to decide that she’s not ready for motherhood or not able to support another child.

Pro-choice means just that: freedom to choose. And this young girl deserves that choice.

(Photo: Sam72/Shutterstock)

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  • alice

    im as pro-choice as it gets, and forcing someone to have an abortion if they don’t want one is absolutely wrong, but something is still fishy about this story. a better version of it is at ABC news from yesterday.

    taking out the (slightly preposterous and speculative) statement that the mom was thinking about doping her drink with a medical abortion – it kinda just reads like reactive parental shock and frustration. Dad was extremely angry? Parents force her to leave school and get two jobs? alert the media! err i mean, the lawyers?

    idk. it doesn’t really sound like the diabolical plot of two parents who are prepared to do anything to abort their grandchild. it sounds a lot more like two parents who really really really really really don’t want their 16 year old daughter having this baby. and you know what? as parents of an underage dependent, they’re allowed to have that opinion. and she’s allowed to listen to them, or do what she wants.

    does that make them crappy for not being supportive of her choice? sure. but i’m not sure it warrants a lawsuit.

    and i’m really not sure that they were about to toss her down the stairs, drug her, or hold her at gunpoint while she signed the paperwork to authorize an abortion. short of doing that: they’re just parents that don’t want their girl to have a baby.

    “When the pregnancy was confirmed, the teenager’s father allegedly “became extremely angry, was insistent that R.E.K. was not having the baby, and that the decision was not up to her, according to the lawsuit. He stated he was going to take her to have an abortion and that the decision was his, end of story.”

    The teen claims that her parents have taken away her phone, pulled her out of school, forced her to get two jobs and taken away her car in an effort to “make her miserable so that she would give in to the coercion and have the abortion,” the lawsuit said.”

    “The parents did not respond to request for comment today from ABC News, but the teen’s father told ABC News’ Houston affiliate KTRK that the allegations are false. He told KTRK he thinks someone put his daughter up to the lawsuit.”

    • chomps

      I don’t understand your point. Regardless of whether this is blown out of proportion or not, the choice is NOT her father’s to make. I’m not sure what is so fishy about this. There are crazy people everywhere. You sound like the kind of person who would discount rape allegations too. Let’s believe the poor girl unless the court finds this to be false. Most importantly, what does the girl have to gain by making this up? Oh, right. Her child.

    • annon

      Chomps, I think your reading comprehension could use some work.

      Alice never said she thought it was the father’s choice to make. She just pointed out some logical problems with the allegations being brought against the parents. For instance, she’s alleging that she’s afraid her mother is going to ‘slip her an abortion pill’, but she’s nine weeks pregnant – there’s no such thing as an ‘abortion pill’ that could cause a miscarriage that far along.

      Suing to prevent someone for forcing you to have an abortion is a legal moot point – nobody has the legal right to force you to do that anyway. It would be like me suing you to prevent you from stealing my television. You aren’t legally permitted to steal my tv, whether I’ve sought an injunction preventing it or not.

      She’s not even living with her parents anymore, so it’s not like they’re keeping her in a dungeon and/or forcing a medical procedure on her. It certainly is awful that they are pressuring her to terminate the pregnancy, but all she has to do is stop talking to them (she might have a real legal claim to a restraining order preventing them from trying to communicate with her).

      Clearly, this lawsuit is politically motivated by a group using this girl to make a point. It’s terrible that she’s being treated badly by her parents, and also being used for someone else’s political gain. I just looked it up – the organization that running this: the “Lawyers with the Texas Center for Defense of Life”, a “pro-life advocacy group”.

      And what does ANYTHING above have to do with rape allegations? Really?

      Lastly, do you really think everyone should just believe whatever allegations someone makes, even when those allegations don’t make sense? If so, I hereby allege that you stole my tv, and I think everyone should assume you’re a thief, until a court determines you’re not.

      Lastly, and just my own personal comment (not related to Chomps post) – I LOVE the irony of a pro-life organization wanting to enforce a woman’s legal right to choose, when usually they’re arguing against it.

    • annon

      Whoops, just notice TWO lastlys. Makes the last one EXTRA lastly-y.

    • Katie

      Actually, there are lots of drugs and even natural substances that can cause a miscarriage at nine weeks. They could also kill the pregnant woman. Drugging someone’s food and drinks to cause an abortion is not a silly, impossible threat. It is very possible and it could result in murder.

    • alice


      put it this way: if you’re sixteen and pregnant and want to keep the baby, but you define things like “being forced to get a real job to support yourself” as a “coercion tactic” then yeah, something is off. and then you hire a prolife advocacy group to publicly file a lawsuit against your parents?

      it’s her choice to have a baby. her parents can’t actually force her to have an abortion. legally, they can’t. maybe that’s the part you’re missing.

      unless you’re just outraged that a father screamed at his pregnant sixteen year old girl “it’s not your decision! it’s mine. that’s final!”

      girl: “dad, i’m dropping out of high school!”
      dad: “no you’re not! you are staying in school. it’s not up to you. that’s final!”
      girl: ::drops out of school::
      world: ::still turning::

    • jessica

      I don’t completely disagree with you but the thing that does make me wonder if there is some merit to the girl’s claims is the simple fact that her parents actually forced her to drop out of school. She’s 16. There is no way that they don’t know how detrimental dropping out of school at this age will be to her and her child and whether or not they agree with her decision to keep her baby that action just seems way out of whack. I mean where I live there are several schools specifically for teen mothers. It does seem that the parents, though they have every right to be as pissed as they want to be, are acting a little crazy right now. And I have to wonder what other craziness they might be up to. Just because you’re mad doesn’t mean you get to do and say whatever you want. Just my two cents.

    • alice

      i agree with you, but from what i read, it doesn’t seem like the parents are doing many newsworthy crazy things. the craziest thing so far, indeed, appears to be whoever convinced the girl to make this a public litigious event.

      and indeed, the lawsuit is not about the girl fearing for her safety from abusive parents, or seeking emancipation. it is strictly about PUBLICIZING (for political purposes) the “See Folks, Roe v Wade goes both ways!”

      (of course it does!)

      statement from the teen’s lawyer:

      “We were asking judge to stop them physically forcing her to have an
      abortion. She is legally protected. They cannot drag her to get an
      abortion, force an abortion on our client, what Roe established is
      minors have the choice. And when they do make the choice, folks are
      shocked that they want to carry the baby”

      the tragedy here is that this hardly unique adolescent/parental struggle has been politicized and publicized, and whatever natural course of adolescent/parental resolution is probably lost to them now.

  • Annie

    This seems a little fishy to me as well. If a kid was forcibly removed from school and allegedly poisoned by “abortion pills” (are they talking about emergency contraception, birth control, or those Mexican antacid pills?), why isn’t she calling the police? She had the ability to contact a lawyer, so she’s not cut off from the outside.

    I’d like to kick the lawyer who took this case in the testicles. This is a family services issue. Take that kid out of her home and into protective custody, give her the prenatal care she is more than likely missing, thoroughly investigate the allegations, and assign them a social worker until the investigation’s concluded.

    If she’s telling the truth, that isn’t an issue that’s going to poof go away by winning a lawlsuit.

    • Amy

      If she wins the lawsuit, she can afford to get out of her parents house (or off of whoever’s couch she’s crashing on) and get some decent prenatal care, as well as better afford to raise her child.

      She’s a teenager facing 18 years of child raising costs. It’s naive to think that putting her in protective services until she’s 18 and then turfing her out to make her own way would be more beneficial in the long run than a lot of money.

    • Annie

      If you were in her situation, which is one of immediate danger, would you think of dollar signs?

    • Amy

      Sure. Her possibilities of living at home happily with her parents are zero. Why not look at the dollar signs? If she brought the lawsuit, she presumably isn’t living at home anymore, so she’s out of immediate danger. And even if she is at home, by bringing the lawsuit and alerting the media there’s now a team of lawyers- heck, the whole nation- watching over her to stop anything happening.

      I think she would be dumb as rocks not to be thinking of dollar signs, if she’s a 16 year old looking to raise a child.

  • mw

    She has the right to have her baby, but her parents have the right not to be forced to raise it for her or take on the burden of supporting her and the baby. If she wants to be grown up and play ‘house’ she needs to get a job, a place to live and start supporting herself. When you’re living under someone else’s roof, eating food and wearing clothes that someone else has paid for – your claim of wanting to be a grown up who makes your own choices rings hollow.

    • jessica

      Or you could be an adult and think about what is really in the best interest of the mother and child in the long term. Dropping out of school at 16 really isn’t in the best interest of either. I agree that she should take responsibility for herself and her child but to a reasonable degree that won’t completely destroy her future.

    • Justme

      Or she might be planning on carrying the baby to term and then placing it up for adoption.

    • K.

      I’m not really in agreement with that perspective purely just because it’s not what I’d do as a parent (but I’m not Queen, so hey, if that’s how these parents want to play it, fine).

      However, your post did bring up a point in my mind which is…why isn’t she suing the FATHER? If she has to give up school to support her child, then maybe she should get some financial help. I don’t actually know the laws on this sort of thing so it might be a pipe dream, considering HS students generally don’t have a financial grounding from which to draw child support, but I wish I lived in a world in which teen fathers were held equally responsible as the mothers. Usually they aren’t.

    • Candi

      In some states, the teen father’s parents are responsible. My Aunt pays her granddaughter’s mother 400/month in child support. She willingly pays because her attorney said she could be court ordered to pay it and she would be CO’d more than 400/month.

    • Katie

      Even if someone is fully supporting you, they do not have the right to slip drugs into your food. That’s disgusting. There is absolutely nothing that justifies that kind of behavior. Her mother should be in prison.

  • K.

    Lindsay, it’s a little off-topic from the article, but in essence, the whole “pro-choice = pro-abortion” conflation drives me bonkers. Does it make you want to bang your head against the wall when people say (for example) the book “Twilight” is pro-life or the movie “Juno” is pro-life, like I do?

    • LindsayCross

      Yes. That makes me extremely frustrated! In so many circumstances, “Pro-Choice” also means helping women who want to have children.

      Those “Pro-Life” Personhood Bills would effectively ban IVF and other reproductive technology. How is that “Pro-Life”?

    • Justme

      The last thing that came to my mind when I read the Twilight series was……”man, abortions are definitely wrong.” Seriously. I never made the connection between Twilight and the abortion topic. But then again, I thought the idea of a vampire baby trying to eat it’s way out of a girl with the name “Isabella Swan” was pretty ridiculous in and of itself, so there’s that.

    • K.

      That’s funny–abortion was one of the FIRST things that I thought of when I read that scene as in, “Oh, people are going to use this as some kind of pro-life icon.” Sure enough…

    • Justme

      I was more concerned with the idea that in order to have sex with Edward, Bella felt like she had to marry him. That and the fact that she was kind of a wimp….up until the middle of the fourth book. She made a MUCH better vampire than she did human.

      I guess people will use just about anything to push their cause. I just read it as a piece of fluff literature.

    • K.

      Oh there’s like a million things about the series that are a feminist’s nightmare (there’s even that one character, the girlfriend of one of the werewolves, who is permanently disfigured because he “couldn’t control himself,” but she forgives him and it’s all good because his love for her is THAT deep–seriously?? Yikes.).

      I’m not really all that up in arms about “Twilight” because it IS fluff, but I have a pet interest in YA lit and read a lot of it, so I’m always sort of reading for the values put forth in different books–especially the ones that are as popular as “Twilight.” I also teach that age-group so it’s fun to discuss the YA pulp stuff with my students on occasion.

    • Justme

      I teach middle school so I try to stay “current” on what they are reading because it gives me a little “street cred” with them. :)

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