Women: Scientologists Made Us Abort
Pregnancies punished with shunning
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2010 3:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 14, 2010 5:00 AM CDT
This is a dormitory for so-called Sea Organization members at the Church of Scientology’s Golden Era Productions in San Jacinto, Calif.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – Women in the Scientology sect who became pregnant were ordered to have abortions—and were punished with manual labor, interrogation, shunning, and separation from their husbands if they resisted, according to a lengthy expose in the St. Petersburg Times. Former members of the group known as Sea Org also recount having to fake suicide attempts or run away to escape the organization, and call the working conditions in the religious order "human trafficking."

One of the women, who has now filed a federal lawsuit against the Scientology organization, said that if she'd kept her baby, her husband and family would have been forbidden contact with her. "I basically would be out on the street alone, pregnant, with absolutely no contacts in the world, no finances, no husband—boom—done.'' Sea Org members, some of whom join in their early teens, are allowed to marry but are forbidden to have children. Scientology officials say they have never pressured members to have abortions, and the women are lying.