No Surprise: Abortion Bans and Violence Against Pregnant People Go Together

Sunday, May 21, 2023 blog Share

Abortion bans and violence

On May 12, 2023, in a parking lot in Dallas, Texas, 26-year-old Gabrielle Gonzalez was murdered by her boyfriend, 22-year-old Harold Thompson, after returning from a trip to Colorado, where she had traveled to obtain abortion care. According to the Dallas Morning News, Thompson, who impregnated Gonzalez, didn't approve of her abortion, and that's why he killed her.

There's a lot to pay attention to here. The rhetoric that comes with the abortion bans and proposed abortion bans, including that which advocates for the imprisonment and execution of people who get abortion, is violent and promotes violence. Abortion providers have been murdered as the result of language from pulpits, politicians, and commentators that emboldens anti-choice terrorists. In Texas, private citizens can file a lawsuit for up to $10,000 against anyone who "aids and abets" an abortion. Criminalizing abortion and anyone who helps someone get one, combined with how easy it is to get a gun in the same states where abortion is banned or essentially banned, clears the way for violence to occur again and again.

Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the US, and intimate partner violence is prevalent during all trimesters of pregnancy. Reproductive coercion, a form of domestic violence in which pregnancy is forced upon one person (think hiding birth control pills, poking holes in condoms, stealthing), traps people who can get pregnant into physically, emotionally, and economically vulnerable positions. Now that abortion care is even more difficult to get in so much of the US, the ability to travel has become an important option for ending pregnancy, but if you're with someone who's monitoring your every move, threatening your existing children, and/or exerting control over any money you have, getting out of one state to another can be essentially impossible. Unfortunately, there are going to be a lot more cases like that of Gabrielle Gonzalez, and there are likely already many that haven't yet made the news.

Here are 3 things you can do:

  • Spread the word about reproductive coercion, intimate partner violence, and pregnancy.
  • Donate to and/or tell the people in your life about organizations like The Brigid Alliance, an organization that helps those seeking abortion care access travel, travel expenses and childcare in order to get to their abortion.
  • Talk about abortion pills, which may provide a solution for pregnant people in abusive relationships, since they can be used at home and the process resembles a miscarriage, so one's partner doesn't have to know they had an abortion. Visit our FAQs for more information or check out our Facebook.