Even when a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy has strong personal and family relationships, her perceptions of what others might think or say may still influence her decision. Her choices might be dictated by what seems to be the path of least resistance.
Denise Beck, from the Choices medical pregnancy center, says that many clients who visit an abortion clinic are fearful of disappointing parents. Likewise, some were afraid of staying connected to the baby’s father for the rest of their lives.
This was particularly true in Della’s* situation. Money was a concern, but it was pressure from her boyfriend that ultimately pushed Della toward abortion. It didn’t help that she was afraid of letting down her parents.
“I didn’t have the financial ability to support myself or a baby,” she says, “but that wasn’t the deciding factor – there is plenty of assistance for single moms.”
Although Della’s life is in a much better place today, she does not plan on sharing her past with her family.
“My family will never know what I went through,” she says, “because even now I know that they would look at me through eyes of disappointment and judgement.”
The Path of Least Resistance
Unfortunately, abortion is often considered the path of least resistance. Sometimes, it’s because of concerned parents or a married man who’s having an affair. Other times, it’s an uncommitted boyfriend. All have an interest in making the “problem” of an unexpected pregnancy go away.
In many cases, these were the people who helped pay for the abortion that they wanted the woman to have.
In a video expressing regret for the abortion she had as a teen, Carrie Gordon Earll, speaks to the lack of freedom women experience in these situations. Carrie is the vice president for government and public policy at Focus on the Family. She says that when women are pressured into taking the path of least resistance, it’s not a good sign.
“The world is not a better place because of abortion,” Earll says. “It’s created a world where you’re almost expected to abort if you’re pregnant at an inopportune time. And it’s created a society in which it’s easier to push women to have an abortion rather than accommodate them and their needs as mothers.”
“Abortion feels like your only choice if you want to keep your place in school or the workforce. That’s not empowerment for women … that’s bondage.”
* Not her real name
Jenny Knowles and her husband are adoptive parents to two sisters through foster care.