Former Scientologists Say The Church Pressured Them To Get Abortions

Not that we ever thought particularly good things about the Church of Scientology and their Xenu-fearing ways, but this new report from the St. Petersburg Times is particularly disturbing. While members of the Sea Org—the highest order of Scientology whose members supposedly sign an employment contract for one billion years—have been allowed to marry each other since 1996, they’ve been banned from having children. Why? Because kids distract from their duties to the church. And thus, women who get pregnant in the elite organization are allegedly pressured into having abortions. In the video above, three former Sea Org women tell their stories of being arm-twisted into abortions. They say that women who continued their pregnancies, and the husbands who stood up for them, were given harsh manual labor and were referred to as “degraded beings.” Scientologists, of course, deny the claims. They say that if any individuals in the Sea Org pressured women into abortions, they acted alone and without the church’s blessing. They did however say that members wanting children are required to leave the organization. Which isn’t so easy considering that many members were recruited into the group at young ages and their entire life is entwined in the church. As Laura Dieckman says, “I was so under their control … from the age of 12, it had been ingrained in me how to think and how to operate. And I didn’t know any other way. I basically would be out on the street alone, pregnant, with absolutely no contacts in the world, no finances, no husband—boom—done.”

Claire Headley has filed a lawsuit against the church and has given a full deposition in the case. Dieckman corroborates her story. And these are not isolated complaints—a dozen women have confirmed that they were pushed towards abortions by the Sea Org, and Headley has named 36 women in her lawsuit who she claims had abortions in the Sea Org.

Just one more reason never to take one of those “Stress Tests.” [St. Petersburg Times]