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Anti-abortion brochure blames women who had abortion for domestic violence

Date: November 8, 2010

For the last couple of days I attended the conference of Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans at University of Portland, which I plan to write about later. But there’s something else I feel so disturbed about right now.

At the conference, there was a table full of anti-abortion materials. Perhaps telling, since the anti-abortion movement and the anti-prostitution movement (which, the anti-trafficking movement in the United States generally is) share the same attitude about women: the anti-abortion/prostitution activists know better than the women themselves what is good for them, and women’s right to control their own bodies and sexualities must be suppressed for their own good–although I’m pretty sure that OATH had nothing to do with the anti-abortion display itself.

Anyway, there were tons of offensive materials there, but one particular brochure really caught my eyes, which was the one titled “Abortion & Domestic Violence: A Deadly Connection.” It starts out inoffensively enough, pointing out that pregnant women as well as women who have just had abortion can be victims of domestic violence, and also that the abuser may be forcing a woman to have an abortion that she doesn’t want (although it would have been better if it mentioned that an abuser can also force a woman *not* to have an abortion when she wants to).

The most offensive part is the section titled “Violence Begets Violence,” which reads:

Not every case of domestic violence is caused by the trauma of abortion; nor does every abortion lead to domestic violence. However, it’s no coincidence that the number of abortions and the number of domestic violence cases have risen together over the last 25 years.


Women who become more rage-filled after abortion are more likely to become the victims of further violence. While such women are more likely to initiate the violence, it’s the men who cause more physical injury because they have greater physical strength.


Guild-ridden, post-abortive women may be more likely to use their partners as means of self-punishment. Those who are suicidal but afraid to deliberately harm themselves are more likely to become involved with violent men and provoke attacks upon themselves.

Wow. Where do I begin? Not only does the brochure suggest that domestic violence is (to a certain degree) caused by experiences of abortion, it also portrays victims of abuse as actively seeking and provoking abusive men in order to punish themselves. And they do so by initiating violence themselves. Abusers are merely “used” by the women, provoked into violence only after being attacked first; the only reason many more women get hurt seriously is because men are physically stronger.

This is vile. It’s sickening to me to think that someone somewhere thought it made sense to write and widely distribute this stuff on a brochure. I really can’t discuss this or think about this anymore because it’s sickening.


  1. Emi – This news concerns me greatly and OATH is not an anti-abortion organization. Let’s talk about this so that we can ensure this does not happen again. ~ Carol

    Comment by Carol Fenton — November 16, 2010 @ 10:15 am

  2. Just found your blog. Another great one to add to my bloglist, yay!

    Comment by Sina — November 16, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

  3. Actually Carol, it was obvious that OATH wasn’t directly responsible for the anti-abortion materials, and I think it is healthy for there to be a space where people can express opinions that aren’t officially sanctioned by the people who own, control, manage, or coordinate the property. It just happens that in this particular case that the opinion expressed was extremely stupid and offensive, but that isn’t a reason for OATH to censor other people’s materials.

    Comment by Emi — November 18, 2010 @ 4:17 am

  4. I think OATH can do a better job of communicating who is speaking, and from what perspective; and also ensure that the materials placed at the tabling areas support the OATH mission statement.

    Again, thanks so much for your input. ~ Carol

    Comment by Carol Fenton — December 20, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

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