10. No One Can Force You

No One Can Legally Force a Woman to Have an Abortion


There are important legal rights a pregnant woman possesses that everyone should know about—EVEN IF SHE IS A MINOR. She has the sole right to determine whether to carry her child until birth (Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania and Bellotti v. Baird.) That right is hers—not anyone else’s. She has the right to make maternal healthcare decisions about the child in her womb. Even though abortion is legal, the decision is hers.

No one may force, coerce, or unduly pressure the mother of the child in the womb to have an abortion.  To do so could subject any person (even a parent or other relative) to the criminal charge of fetal homicide (killing a baby while still in the womb) in the many states with fetal homicide laws. In other words, any third party (including a relative and/or friend) who causes the baby to be killed may be guilty of fetal homicide.  See, for example, Lawrence v. State, 211 S.W. 3d 883, 884-85 (Tex.  App. – Dallas 2006). Those who unduly pressure the mother may also be prosecuted under the Federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

Attempting to unduly pressure a woman to abort her child may also subject a person to the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress or other civil liability. A pregnancy is an emotionally and physically vulnerable time for the mother. Excessive undue pressure may cause emotional and physical damage to both the mother and the child. Anyone could be responsible for that damage legally.
If you are being forced to have an abortion, or if you hear about or see another woman being forced, you should contact the police immediately. Evidence that a woman is being coerced could be excessive crying or screaming, that she is being pulled, kicked, dragged or has been beaten.

No one can legally force, unduly pressure, or coerce a woman into having an abortion against her will.

Examples of threats

that may subject a person to legal liability:

Examples of threats that may
subject a person to legal liability:
1 “If you have this baby, I am kicking you out of my house.” (If the mother of the child in the womb is a minor, her parents do have to support her just as she has to support her baby.  The state and other groups may assist her with support for her child. She also has the right to child support from the father of the child. The mother of the child in the womb may be eligible for financial assistance from the state and other groups.)
2 “No more talking, I am taking you for an abortion. I have made the appointment.”
3 “You won’t get a penny of child support out of me.” (The father of the child has a legal duty to pay child support.)
4 “If you don’t have an abortion, I am going to beat you up.” (Any threat or actual infliction of physical violence is an illegal assault.)


For Free documents explaining your legal rights as a pregnant woman please visit: Center Against Forced Abortions (CAFA)

The Justice Foundation