Hidden victims of coerced abortion being recognised at last

The new Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act may help “expose one of the most unrecognised and insidious forms of domestic abuse” according to Clare Bremner, writing in The Times.

Coerced abortion exists in approximately 75% of the women who are able to summon up the courage to speak to the Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH), where Clare works as a counsellor. ARCH is an organisation which provides support for women who have experienced abortion. The women Clare meets are often pressurised or bullied into having an abortion by the male involved and are left isolated to pick up the pieces afterwards.

Clare says: “We want this legislation to be used by victims to secure recognition and justice. In addition, it will hopefully educate and enlighten men about this form of abuse and help shift existing toxic attitudes. We realise that it is likely most of the men involved would not even identify their behaviour as abusive, yet pushing a woman into an abortion undoubtedly comes under this law.”

She adds: “We have come a long way in other areas where attitudes and abusive behaviours have been challenged and have changed. Our sincere hope is that this legislation will help protect women in the future and lead to opportunities for men, and others, to be educated and enlightened about this type of abuse.”

Clare Bremner is a counsellor with the Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline.