Abortion by Other Means

Steven Mosher
By Joseph A. D'Agostino
PRI Weekly Briefing
23 December 2004
Vol. 6 / No. 41
Reproduced with Permission

After a year-long investigation, the Washington Post came to the disturbing conclusion that murder is the top killer of expectant and new mothers. Pregnant American women are more likely to be killed by other people than by illness or accident, a situation that is a tribute to advances in technology and the social organization that has spread it wide -- and to something sinister.

A large proportion of these pregnant women are killed by their boyfriends or, occasionally, husbands. Why would these men commit a double homicide, killing not only their girlfriends but their own unborn children as well? Killing their own children is the point. The Post quoted Pat Brown, a criminal profiler in Minneapolis, on December 19: "If the woman doesn't want the baby, she can get an abortion. If the guy doesn't want it, he can't do a damn thing about it. He is stuck with a child for the rest of his life, he is stuck with child support for the rest of his life, and he's stuck with that woman for the rest of his life. If she goes away, the problem goes away."

The Post in its series of articles cited several specific cases in which men pursued abortion by other means. Here are a few:

* An 18-year-old who was eight months pregnant "was walking home from a grocery store when her ex-boyfriend shot her in the head execution-style because, prosecutors said, he believed fatherhood would get in the way of his music career. 'This was a big, major inconvenience for him,' prosecutor Mark Curry said," reported the newspaper.

* "The dead included Ceeatta Stewart-McKinnie, 23, a college student in Richmond who was beaten to death by her boyfriend. The couple had dated on and off for years, and she had had abortions previously, prosecutors said. This time, he was married -- and she refused to end her pregnancy. Turkey hunters found her bludgeoned body in the woods."

* "Her circumstances were not ideal, not what a single mother would have chosen if life always happened according to wishes and plans. But she could not bear to have an abortion, she told friends. . . . But Tjane Marshall was already a father of two and said a baby would ruin his life, [Shameka] Fludd later told her sisters." Marshall killed her.

* In the famous case of former Carolina Panthers star Rae Carruth, now in prison, men opened fire on Chirica Adams' car one night after a date with Carruth, who didn't want the woman to bear the child of his that she was carrying. Carruth was convicted of conspiracy to murder.

One solution could be to give men more control over whether or not they become fathers. In a society that holds fatherhood in even greater contempt than motherhood, men have no legal say over whether their children are killed in the womb or brought into the world. And then mothers receive sole or primary custody of those children an overwhelming majority of the time, sidelining fathers to paying a monthly bill and visits every other weekend whether they were once married to the mothers or not.

But would giving men some power over whether to abort their children do any good? Or is the pro-choice, disposable-human mentality to blame for these men's attitudes in the first place? Said crime expert Louis Mizell, "When husbands or boyfriends attack pregnant partners, it usually has to do with an unwillingness to deal with fatherhood, marriage, child support or public scandal."

It's not jealousy or some other such imperative that is prompting these men to murder. It's the attitude toward children contained in Roe v. Wade, that inconvenient ones should die.

Giving fathers more control over their born children would serve justice and reduce incentives for divorce. And it might induce more responsible behavior on the part of both men and women. Most of the women murdered, according to the Post investigation, were in the dangerous, unstable situations that have become so common since the 1960s: Pregnant out-of-wedlock by boyfriends or even just men they knew, pregnant by men married to other women, or undergoing bitter divorces. Oftentimes, women's irresponsible behavior put them in the path of vicious men.

Though no one knows exactly how many such killings there are and only piecemeal information exists, the statistics we have do not show a large number of killings compared to America's overall homicide rate. They average less than 140 annually (the Post speculates that the real number could be 300 a year) and that includes not only women who were pregnant, but those who had given birth in the previous 12 months. But pregnancy may have become a major risk factor for murder.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, March 21, 2001, Isabelle Horon and Diana Cheng reported their findings after examining data for the state of Maryland. "Homicide, the leading cause of pregnancy-associated death, was responsible for 20.2% of all pregnancy-associated deaths," they said. "By comparison, homicide was the fifth-leading cause of death among Maryland women aged 14 to 44 years who had not had a pregnancy in the year preceding death." Horon and Cheng did say that there could be other factors at work, however, such as: "The pregnant group was younger and included a higher percentage of African-American women than the non-pregnant group, factors that are associated with higher rates of homicide independent of pregnancy."

"Pro-choice men are the No. 1 perpetrators of violence against pregnant, pro-life mothers," said Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.

When women can so easily dispose of an inconvenient unborn child, is it any surprise that men become angry when they refuse to do so? When men face a lifetime of expense and responsibility because the mothers of their children won't exercise their right to choose? Why shouldn't they be angry -- unless they are pro-life and recognize that unborn children are to be welcomed into this world, not terminated due to inconvenience. Abortion is still abortion, by whatever name or method.

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us remember to thank His mother for her dedication to motherhood and His stepfather for his dedication to fatherhood. They freely accepted parenthood in the most inconvenient of circumstances. Let us pray that they will once again be accepted as role models.