Idaho became one of the first states in the nation last week to make into law what pro-life groups described as a historic victory in the battle for the rights of women and the unborn.
Forcing, threatening, or inflicting bodily harm on women to perform unwanted abortions will now amount to a serious and punishable offense, thanks to a recent Anti-Coerced Abortion law, which passed by a 4 to 1 margin in the Idaho state legislature.
Idaho Chooses Life, among the major backers of the new law, spoke of the new legislation as a turning point in the battle for the forces of life.
It is an historic, if modest, step forward. We believe Idaho is the first state in the Union to specifically recognize the crime of abortion coercion, the group said in a statement.
According to the Stop Forced Abortions campaign, one of the organizations that helped lobby the recent legislation, up to 64 percent of abortions every year are a result of violence and coercion a practice, according to the group, that brings unbearable and life lasting trauma to thousands of women.
Women who undergo abortions have greater rates of depression and are 6-7 times more likely than the general population to commit suicide, the group notes.
A simple law, however, could save countless numbers of lives.
It would only take a few minutes for abortion counselors to inquire of a pregnant woman: Is someone else encouraging you to have this abortion? Are you feeling pressured to have this abortion by any other person? These questions could save countless women from unwanted abortions. These questions can help save lives, the group stated on its Web site.
Georgette Forney, co-founder of the national Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC), an organization dedicated to ending the secrecy and silence surrounding the emotional and physical pain of abortion, praised the new legislation, and urged it's adoption throughout the nation.
"A statute like this is long overdue, she said in a released statement.
Abortion is traumatic on its own, coerced abortion is beyond horrific. Those who oppose domestic abuse and those who seek to protect women and their unborn babies should unite to support this kind of legislation in every jurisdiction, she added.
According to a 2008 study done by Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit and leading think tank on sexual and reproductive health issues, as many as one in five pregnant women performed an abortion last year.