The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is a Constitutional right because individuals have a right to control their own bodies without unreasonable intrusion by the government. If you’re pregnant and considering a termination, you might wonder whether your husband, boyfriend, or other partner can stop you from getting a safe abortion. The answer is no. Here’s what you need to know about your abortion rights when you and your partner disagree.
Can I get an abortion if my partner doesn’t want me to?
Under the law, the baby doesn’t exist as a separate human until they are born. In most states, for example, people cannot sue for child custody until after a baby is born. Your partner does not have the right to make any decisions about the baby until after they are born. And being married does not remove your right to control your body. There is nothing legally your partner can do to stop you from having an abortion. Moreover, there is no requirement that you tell them you are pregnant or of your plan to have an abortion.
What if my partner tries to stop me from getting an abortion?
While your partner cannot legally stop you from getting an abortion, there’s plenty they can do to make the experience painful–from threatening to leave you to telling your family. This is a form of abuse called reproductive coercion. Please know that loving partners do not attempt to threaten or manipulate their partners into having babies they do not want. Differences of opinion are fine. So too is trying to convince you to keep the baby or work together toward a mutually agreeable solution. But if you feel scared, unloved, or worried about what your partner might do, get help.
Abuse does not have to be physical. Some other examples of abuse include:
- Calling you names.
- Treating you like a servant, demanding that you do all of the childcare and household labor.
- Trying to force you to get pregnant by removing a condom or sabotaging your birth control.
- Endangering your children or your pets.
- Trying to manipulate your children to hurt you.
- Threatening you.
- Using your friends or family to threaten or manipulate you.
- Trying to make you feel crazy or irrational.
- Trying to prevent you from having friendships.
- Being excessively jealous.
Get help from The National Domestic Violence Hotline. The abortion clinic where you seek care can also help you. When you go in for your appointment, tell them you are being abused. They will not allow your abuser into the clinic, and can point you toward local resources.