Coerced Abortion

The pious frauds in the Indiana legislature have once again displayed their utter lack of self-awareness or integrity.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the World’s Worst Legislature–or at least the Senate portion of that embarrassing body–has passed a measure that will criminalize “coerced abortion.”

The Indiana Senate approved new abortion regulations on Tuesday by a 38-10 vote in an attempt to limit “coerced” abortions.

Supporters say it’s a necessary layer of protection to prevent Hoosier women from being forced into an unwanted abortion and to catch human traffickers, while opponents say the requirements just further stigmatize abortions without actually helping women.

Now, I will grant you that the Indiana legislature is not known for exercises in logic or for considering that pesky thing called “evidence,” but if they were so inclined, they would discover that such coercion is far less likely to be exercised by a parent or male partner than by the reality of poverty.

Data compiled by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops–a very pro-life organization–is unequivocal:

Surveys indicate that low-income women are more against abortion than other women. Yet economic realities pressure many to act against their convictions. This has been a disturbing reality for a long time, and is getting worse.

In a 2005 study, 73% of women undergoing an abortion said not being able to afford a baby now was a reason for the abortion. That number rose to 81% for women below the federal poverty line. And while the abortion rate for American women declined by 8% between 2000 and 2008, among poor American women it increased by 18%.

It occurred to me that Catholic social teachings  about poverty might have incentivized the bishops to cherry-pick the data. But no–research conducted by the pro-choice  Guttmacher Institute has come to the same conclusion, as has a study published in 2017 by the American Journal of Public Health.

Studies have determined that most women having abortions– fifty-nine percent of them in 2014 –had had at least one previous birth. But  three-fourths of them were low income—49% living at less than the federal poverty level, and 26% living at 100–199% of the poverty level. Many also lacked health insurance, and in the U.S., even an uncomplicated childbirth is very expensive.

Bottom line, readily available data confirms that not being able to afford a child–or another child–is what impels (coerces) a large number of women to abort. So clearly, it’s the  lawmakers who consistently vote for public policies that operate to keep women impoverished who are really guilty of “coercing” women to terminate their pregnancies.

The piety police in our legislature have chosen to ignore such “inconvenient” data. To the contrary; the GOP super-majority has doggedly pursued policies intended to keep all Hoosiers–especially female Hoosiers–poor. I’ve written previously about the ALICE reports issued by the Indiana United Ways. Those meticulous reports should embarrass lawmakers sufficiently to motivate change. But this is Indiana, so… no.

The same lawmakers who purport to be concerned about “coercion” of abortion have steadfastly refused to raise Indiana’s minimum wage, which has remained at 7.25/hour since 2008, despite copious evidence that full-time minimum wage work doesn’t even rise to the level of subsistence–and despite data from places that have raised the wage that convincingly rebuts the old argument that a higher minimum wage translates into fewer jobs.

Worse still, In Indiana, lots of folks don’t even get that 7.25 an hour–they’re exempt from the requirement. Employees who are exempt from this minimum wage include:

Tipped employees must be paid a cash minimum of $2.13 per hour, with a $5.12 tip credit to earn $7.25 an hour (including tips).

A special training minimum wage of $4.25 per hour can be paid to workers under 20 years of age for the first 90 days of employment.

Full-time high school and college students can be paid 85 percent of Indiana minimum wage ($6.16) if they are participating in a work-study program or working 20 or fewer hours per week.

And don’t even whisper about providing expanded or universal health care…why, in Indiana, that’s commie talk.

Genuinely “pro-life” lawmakers would support policies making it easier for low-income pregnant women to afford birthing and feeding the child they’re carrying. But that might cost money better spent on tax cuts and/or the priorities of their donors–so these phonies opt to vote for meaningless performative policies.

If this piece of garbage legislation becomes law, the “coercers” who should be criminally charged are the members of Indiana’s GOP super-majority. But thanks to gerrymandering, most of them won’t even lose their seats…


  1. This just in from KJWS news: Indiana’s state government is searching for land from areas in Mississippi and Alabama. Spokesman Red Neck has indicated that Indiana people have a massive inferiority complex having to live in such superior states as Ohio and Illinois. If they moved to the deep south they will feel better about their attempts at thought and contrivance. Thus far, however, the deep south is turning away the Indiana efforts at recolonization.

  2. Men have NO business creating any laws pertinent to abortion, that is a situation that can only be understood by a woman. If men want to do something constructive, then push adoption, over abortion.

  3. Sorry to focus on Sheila’s side comment about the minimum wage rather than coerced abortion thrust of the article. It’s an irritation of mine and I can’t resist.

    Please find me the employees in Indiana making minimum wage. They don’t exist. The market has long ago eclipsed the minimum wage. You can have absolutely no skills and land jobs paying $12 to $15 an hour often with decent benefits.

    Tipped employees. have a smaller minimum wage + tips. But what is not often mentioned is that the law requires employers of tipped employees to pay the regular $7.15 federal minimum wage if their tips don’t make up the difference. Nonetheless, tipped employees, like non-tipped employees, are making far above the $7.15 minimum wage. If they aren’t, they leave to go to the many jobs that pay much, much more.

    That lower end, unskilled employees have enormous clout in today’s job market. And that is a very good thing. You don’t need a higher minimum wage to force employers to pay more. The job market has already taken care of that.

    Unfortunately, the focus on the minimum wage distracts people from changes that do need to be made. Under federal law, salaried employees making over $35,568 do not have to be paid overtime. (Indiana’s threshold is $23,660 though the federal law usually applies.) So, employers often pay employees just over that $35,568 threshold so they can work the employees a lot of extra hours (over 40) and not pay them for those extra hours.

    I know an employee who worked at Amazon as an associate for 9 years. His baseline pay went up about $15,000 to about $50,000 when he became a manager. But since his baseline pay was no longer below $35,568 he did not receive the lucrative overtime pay he received as an associate. Instead, he was obligated to work 55 hour weeks and didn’t receive any additional compensation for those additional 15 hours. He ended up making less as a manager than he did as an associate.

  4. Roberta,

    The notion that it is just men against abortion is a myth. While the polling is somewhat mixed, most polls show men more supportive of abortion rights than women. If you’re around people in the pro-life movement, you find out pretty quickly that it’s dominated by women.

    Typically, the demographic group most supportive of abortion rights is men, aged 18-25. If you had that group voting on the issue, there would be absolutely no limits on abortion rights.

  5. Paul Ogden, come to southern Indiana. Minimum wage is rampant, particularly if you are a person of color. There is a world outside of 465 and the donut counties.

  6. One thing I don’t understand is why no one ever challenges abortion on religious grounds. Not everyone believes that the life that may begin at conception is automatically endowed with whatever it is that makes us human.

  7. Yes, Paul, employers have been screwing salaried employees for decades, and much of that is in social work and teaching, not to mention the employees working for the State of Indiana. However, this comment of yours is a pet peeve of mine, “You can have absolutely no skills and land jobs paying $12 to $15 an hour often with decent benefits.”

    What does “absolutely no skills” mean exactly? Is it just a glob of humanity that can’t even walk?

    As for abortion, it’s a bunch of men pandering to their base while getting paid by oligarchs to cut taxes protected by gerrymandering.

    Indiana is one of the most polluted states in the union and has the highest migration (net people leaving).

    Also, the people leaving are educated and high earners who take their families to other states to accumulate assets and pay taxes. So it would appear that Indiana is LOSING in the long run with no end in sight.

    All that power/money and “winning” in Indianapolis means nothing. I notice that it leaves the business owners with something to complain about. LOL

    The joy of watching the self-inflicted crying over money is priceless.

  8. @Peggy, the Church of Satan has, in fact, been doing precisely that.

    Now, some might say that they aren’t a “real” religion, but, well plenty of them claim just as much belief as anyone else in ay other religion, and are we *really* sure it’s okay for the government to be deciding which religions are “real”?

    But if you want a religion that’s been around a bit longer, here’s a nice summary of what Judaism has to say on the matter.

    Unitarian Universalist:

  9. To Jane and Theresa Bowers; KUDOS!

    Paul K. Ogden’s comments reflect his total coercion by the Indiana Republican party dating back prior to the middle of the 20th Century.

    The Biblical crap about anti-abortion, which isn’t mentioned in the Bible, should raise questions about sex being the original sin but is the only way to procreate and the Bible tells us to “go forth, be fruitful and multiply” Genesis Chapter 1, verse 27, God created man and woman in his own image. But not until Chapter 2, verse 22, did he use Adam’s rib to create woman. No one has questioned why in Chapter 1, verse 20, he created the animal world before adding humans. Of course there were no editors to research any of this information before publication.

    “Now, I will grant you that the Indiana legislature is not known for exercises in logic or for considering that pesky thing called “evidence,” but if they were so inclined, they would discover that such coercion is far less likely to be exercised by a parent or male partner than by the reality of poverty.”

    The same lack of logic and evidence is found throughout the Bible; probably why the founding fathers included separation of “church and state” in the 1st Amendment.

  10. Why worry about Putin’s assault on Democracy when we have several dozen just like him in the Insaniana General Assholery? And thousands more in the IN GQP?

    As for abortion, I’ll stay in my lane as requested by many women and shut the f%ck up.

    And just wow, Paul: “ That lower end, unskilled employees have enormous clout in today’s job market”.

  11. MoJo; and Paul seems to forget or ignore that someone making $12 an hour, by the time all of the taxes are deducted from that $12 they are left with less than $7.25 an hour. And pays the same prices for food, clothes, gas and housing.

  12. Apparently in Indiana, by making the alternative illegal, coerced birth is ok . Control of the poor is what authoritarianism (and unregulated capitalism) is all about. To Authoritarians, workers are interchangeable parts unfortunately necessary to create wealth. More workers just increases the ability of those who live off that wealth to pay them less for the wealth that they create.

  13. Is it possible for some to imagine, that many abortions are considered because a female does not want to be pregnant…does not want to be a mother, does not want to consider adoption…and simply does not want to incubate or, to have a child.

    We assume that when asked, “why did xx obtain an abortion”, there is a ‘socially accepted” justification… ‘too poor’ is palatable for those who would rather not consider that even someone who is poor in income, may simply not want to have a baby or to even continue a pregnancy.
    The stigma of saying, “I just don’t want to be pregnant”…”don’t want to be a mother”, “don’t want to have a child”…and “don’t want to go through the idea of having a child and then giving he/she away through adoption”…might be the underlying justification.
    All those replies often labels a woman as being selfish or insensitive.
    Perhaps trying to find a socially acceptable reason, one that garners some public support that incurs less condemnation, may impact the response to surveys done by those who seek to justify the ‘whys’…
    Coerced ‘pregnancies’ might be the unintentional results of efforts by those who seek to insist that ‘low income’ is the driving factor in many choosing to obtain abortions.

    Perhaps we assume that if income inequities were resolved, most abortions would not occur.
    Although income inequities may be a factor for some, I subscribe to the idea that many abortions occur because finding herself unintentionally pregnant, some women simply choose not to continue a pregnancy…do not want to incubate or to have a baby.

  14. I am curious. If these “lawmen” are so concerned about preventing abortion, how do they feel about encouraging a raging erection in men? While they discuss abortion there are many advertisements, mostly in the sports sections of the newspapers, regarding men being able to better “please” their women with a good erection. Tell them to stuff it in a wall socket!

  15. The restaurant association has a lot of clout in the Congress, hence the $2.13 an hour to “tipped” employees (waiters and waitresses) however employers must report such makeup for IRS purposes (and a deductible item on their returns). Tips are not income and do not meet the criterion of contracturally-owed wages; they are gifts and should be treated as such with a special provision exempting wait help from reporting the names and addresses of those who gave such gifts on the wait help’s gift returns. With a threshhold figure of some 11 million lifetime dollars before gift tax liability kicks in, all of such gifts would realistically be free of federal income tax and would attract many and better waiters and waitresses to the profession at no additional cost to employers. This could be done with a paragraph or two by tax writers, so let’s get it done.

    I have had some experience with gift tax returns and they would require about five minutes for the average waiter or waitress to complete, assuming an IRS redefinition of what is income and what are gifts and an end to reporting the names and addresses of donors.

  16. Here in Heidi land, the poverty level is defined at 38,000 francs a year for a single person. That’s over 18 bucks an hour, 40 hours a week for 52 weeks. Yes, the cost of living is high here, rent is high, food extremely high and gas is over 7 dollars a gallon. That redline is where the government considers assistance to someone. You earn below that and the government will cover your health care.

    If they want to abandon abortions, they need to provide birth control for females and males. But their religion won’t allow that either. There will still be abortions; just fewer safe ones. How many women have to die before they allow abortions again after they ban them? What is the number of dead women?

    Let’s be honest, males create all of the pregnancies so maybe we’re looking at the wrong person here. A woman can only have one child a year. Sperm donors can impregnate several women a day, every day, every week, every month…Men are the reasons for unplanned pregnancies. Getting pregnant is a life changing, body changing health risk. The women should be protected. Leave them alone and concentrate on the men.

  17. d. moore – Perhaps you are correct, or perhaps, more affluent, which includes better educated, women are more knowledgeable and have better access to contraception. The Guttmacher Institute has a good reputation for their studies, but all survey studies have some room for questions. I think your explanation why the survey may be wrong is sound. I think that my explanation of why the survey might be correct is also sound.

    I hope they pass the law and add the “citizen’s vigilante” clause. Then we can bring action against the legislators for every abortion in the state. Just a thought.

  18. Teresa,

    I came from southern Indiana (Madison) and travel the state. The job market has not driven up
    lower end wages in non-Indianapolis parts of the state, but the notion there are a bunch of people still making minimum wage isn’t true. One of the networks went out to interview people who were making minimum wage and eventually had to settle for interviewing people making $9 or $10 an hour, which is very low but not minimum wage.

    Again, let’s focus on things that are clearly problems…such as the very low bar for paying salaried income and denying overtime pay.

  19. Paul, your assertion that many of the jobs come with benefits, almost only applies to full time employees and many fast food chains work very hard to keep that from happening. I also think many of these low end part time jobs also have pretty variable hours with little or no consistency from week to week making it hard to get a second job somewhere else to even get in 40 hours a week.

  20. Yes, many in the pro-life movement are women, BUT the overwhelming majority of those making these insane laws are white males in our state legislature and also in the Congress.

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