As if the Church of Scientology didn't already have enough strikes against it: The St. Petersburg Times' latest investigation into the religion popularized by celebrities reveals some disturbing new facts about its treatment of pregnant women. The paper chronicles the story of Natalie Hagemo, who turned to the Sea Organization, a militant arm of the church, when she was a troubled teen, eventually becoming one of its devoted workers. She quickly married a fellow Scientologist, and at the age of 19, she learned she was pregnant. According to Hagemo, the Sea Org believed that pregnant women were bringing down the church, and a way of making amends was to have an abortion. She was soon informed that, by becoming pregnant, she was letting down L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder, and mankind in its entirety, and was pressured into aborting her child. When she insisted on keeping the child, Hagemo was castigated and told to wear baggy clothes to hide her pregnant figure because "they didn't want other women getting any ideas that it was OK to be pregnant." Church spokesman Tommy Davis responded: "The church has the deepest respect for family and the creation of a family and children. There is no hostility toward pregnant women."
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