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Woman Sues Scientology For Allegedly Forcing Her To Have An Abortion

Big Blue in Hollywood. (Photo by millerm217 via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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An L.A. County Superior Court Judge ruled this week that a woman who is suing the Church of Scientology for forcing her to have an abortion against her will may proceed with her trial.

Laura DeCrescenzo alleges that the Church of Scientology forced her to abort a fetus when she was 17-years-old, according to KABC. DeCrescenzo, who signed a "Billion Year Contract" with the church when she was just twelve years old, originally filed her lawsuit back in 2009. Since then, Scientology has put up a vicious legal fight, managing to stall DeCrescenzo's case until now.

Aside from the forced abortion, DeCrescenzo is accusing Scientology of false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices and wage-and-hour violations, according to OC Weekly.

DeCrescenzo was involved with Scientology for about seventeen years, according to court documents. The abortion happened back in 1996, five years into her encounter with the church. At the time, DeCrescenzo was a part of Scientology's infamous "Sea Org," the wing of church for the most dedicated members that coincidentally operates several boats.

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According to court documents, the church pressured her into having an abortion by threatening her with unemployment, homelessness, and never seeing her husband again if she had the child. The church also allegedly said that if she lost her job, she would be liable for a "freeloader debt" incurred on all earlier Scientology training and services.

Also a component of this was her husband, who was allegedly angry with DeCrescenzo for getting pregnant in the first place. DeCrescenzo had been using birth-control pills, but stopped shortly before becoming pregnant.

Bear in mind that DeCrescenzo was just seventeen when all this was happening, and remained a part of Scientology for another twelve years.

DeCrescenzo's case alleges that this is common practice within the Church of Scientology. Court documents claim that it is church policy to coerce women into having abortions in order to "maximize the workload" of female employees and keep childcare costs to a minimum.

Court documents reflect that DeCrescenzo exited Scientology's Sea Org in 2004, but continued to be an active part of the church until 2008. She left after stumbling across an confessional ex-scientologist online message board.

Bert Deixler, an attorney for the Church of Scientology, says the court is inappropriately involving itself with religious organzation, according to MyFoxLA.

“We do not have the civil courts investigate religious practices,” Deixler said. He continued, saying the DeCrescenzo case is “a question of faith, and not force."

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