An Overlooked Form of Abuse: Reproductive Coercion

A groundbreaking study has been released on a form of abuse that’s largely left by the way side, though prevalent among intimate partner violence cases — reproductive coercion. From the Family Violence Prevention Fund’s (FVPF) release:

[Y]oung women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage their birth control or coerce or pressure them to become pregnant — including by damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives. These behaviors, defined as “reproductive coercion,” are often associated with physical or sexual violence. Conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Pubic Health, the study also finds that among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled. (Emphasis mine)

FVPF has been covering the issue of reproductive coercion for quite some time, but never has there been quantitative research conducted on the relationship between intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion and unintended pregnancy. In short, this hard proof brings the issue to the forefront.
Additionally, “What this study shows is that reproductive coercion likely explains why unintended pregnancies are far more common among abused women and teens,” says Jay Silverman, the study’s senior author. The researchers and FVPF call not only for more awareness around this issue, but for reproductive health clinics to screen their patients for violence and pregnancy coercion.
FVPF President Esta Soler says, “If we are serious about reducing unintended pregnancy in this country, we have to do more to stop violence and abuse, and help victims.”
The Family Violence Prevention Fund is looking to collect stories of survivors of reproductive coercion and control, including pregnancy promotion. If you are a survivor and are willing to share your story, please email them.

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