June 15, 2010

PUTTING THE DIE IN DIANETICS:

Inside Scientology: A Times Special Report: No kids allowed (Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, 6/13/10, St. Petersburg Times

Laura Dieckman was just 12 when her parents let her leave home to work full time for Scientology's religious order, the Sea Organization. At 16, she married a co-worker. At 17, she was pregnant.

She was excited to start a family, but she said Sea Org supervisors pressured her to have an abortion. She was back at work the following day.

Claire Headley joined at 16, married at 17 and was pregnant at 19. She said Sea Org supervisors threatened strenuous physical work and repeated interrogations if she didn't end her pregnancy. She, too, was back at work the next day.

Two years later she had a second abortion, this time while working for the church in Clearwater.

A St. Petersburg Times investigation found their experiences were not unique. More than a dozen women said the culture in the Sea Org pushed them or women they knew to have abortions, in many cases, abortions they did not want.

Some said colleagues and supervisors pressured them to abort their pregnancies and remain productive workers without the distraction of raising children. Terminating a pregnancy and staying on the job affirmed one's commitment to the all-important work of saving the planet.

"You just have a way of thinking,'' said Sunny Pereira, who was 15 when she entered the order. ''It all has to do with the Sea Org and what we're trying to accomplish. Everything that is a distraction is scorned.''

According to those speaking out, women who didn't schedule abortions were shunned by fellow Sea Org members, called "degraded beings'' and taunted for being "out ethics,'' straying from the order's ethical code.

Some were isolated, assigned manual labor and interrogated until they agreed to abortions, said church defectors, including men whose wives got abortions.


Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2010 5:33 AM
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