DALLAS, July 25, 2013 ― NBA player J.J. Redick has been accused of coercing his then-girlfriend Victoria Lopez to have a second trimester abortion in 2007. Documents released include a contract which is reportedly between Lopez and Redick.
In the contract, Redick offered $25,000 to have the abortion. Other documents released include an abortion clinic questionnaire where Lopez indicated her ambivalence about the abortion.
The Los Angeles Clippers player denies that he fathered a child with Lopez.
Celebrities pressuring women to have abortions is not unknown. Sondra Locke accused Clint Eastwood of pressuring her to have two abortions and to be sterilized. Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, has admitted to pressuring his teen girlfriend, Julia Holcolm, into aborting their child.
Other celebrities have been pressured to abort for their careers. In 1997, actress Hunter Tylo won a $5 million settlement after being fired from the television show Melrose Place after becoming pregnant. Producers suggested she get an abortion to keep her job.
One study by the Elliot Institute found that 64% of women who have abortions experience some form of coercion. Coercion can take the form of direct or indirect pressure. In direct coercion, someone physically takes the woman to an abortion clinic and the woman is protesting the abortion.
Indirect coercion includes other forms of non-physical pressure. For example, the partner may threaten to leave the woman if she doesn’t abort, or parents may threaten a minor with punishment if she doesn’t have an abortion.
Coercion can also lead to violence. When Cherica Adams refused to have an abortion, her boyfriend NFL Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth had her killed. Doctors were able to save her son. Carruth is serving 18 years and 11 months in prison for arranging the execution.
Researchers have also found that women who are coerced into having abortions are more likely to suffer negative psychological effects than those who have them willingly. In her suicide note, Indian-American actress Jiah Khan wrote that the abortion she felt pressured into having by her boyfriend hurt her deeply.
States have taken measures to prevent coerced abortion. According to The National Right to Life Committee, 11 states have legislation to criminalize direct coerced abortion. An addition 18 states have Women’s Right to Know laws. These laws require that the abortion be “informed and voluntary,” which is an implicit ban on direct coercion. In June, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law that makes coercing a minor to have an abortion child abuse.
While direct coercion is banned in 29 states, indirect coercion, such as in the alleged cases of Redick, Eastwood and Tyler, is not banned.
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