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Abortion coercion, and what would you do?

Recently ABC.com ran a contest titled “How would you do it” for their ABC show “What would you do?” When Jared Smith of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin entered, he knew exactly what the show should run a segment on.

He'd seen two students at his high school troubled by the ethical dilemma of an unplanned teen-age pregnancy. Jared won the contest with his entry asking, what people would do if they saw a teenage boy trying to pressure his girlfriend into terminating her pregnancy.

ABC took their camera crews and actors to Park Wayne Diner in Wayne, N.J to find out. The actress plays a 16 year old who recently found out she is pregnant. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t take the news well.

"I can't even believe you just told me you were pregnant. You are not keeping this baby! You're still a baby, I'm still a baby. You are getting an abortion, simple, bottom line."

The actress replies with "I thought a lot about it and I'm going to keep the baby." He responds with even more intensity "You're not keeping this baby. I'm sorry."

One woman, a school nurse, steps in to talk to the young couple. "You guys are talking about heavy stuff. What you have to do is decide what you're going to do," she says. "...I can't tell you what to do with your life."

When the “what would you do?” actors replay their scenario again, the actors take it to an even higher intensity. "Either you end this pregnancy or I'm ending this relationship.”

A nearby woman offers the young female some wise advice. "I would get rid of him so fast and you do whatever you feel is right," she says.

The actors play their parts several more times, getting a few more reactions from onlookers. Some people decide not to interject until the teenage father gets up and leaves the young mother.

It’s an intense episode to watch, and a scenario that plays out in “real life” far more than most people know.

Abortion coercion occurs in more than half of unintended pregnancies and is carried out by partners, parents, and even friends. It is illegal, but often unreported.

The bottom line is that the choice must be your own. The question is if you saw someone being coerced, what would you do?

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Content copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Gregory. All rights reserved.
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