Reproductive Coercion

Mounting evidence that unintended pregnancy occurs more commonly in abusive relationships highlights that victimized women face compromised decision making regarding contraceptive use and family planning, including condom use.

Birth Control Sabotage

Birth control sabotage includes verbal threatening/pressure or behavioral sabotage, and acts as an active interference with contraceptive methods. This includes:tumblr_mpmwzkZRIZ1qzh7bfo1_1280

  • Direct actions are taken to ensure the failure of birth control (such as poking holes in or breaking condoms)
  • Complete removal of contraception (such as flushing birth control pills down the toilet, removing contraceptive rings or patches from the body)
  • Forced unprotected sex/refusal to use condoms
  • Forbid/Prevent Women from using family planning services

Pregnancy Pressure

Pregnancy pressure is enacted by a woman’s sexual partner when he pressures her into having unprotected sex in order to become pregnant. Ways in which this occurs are through verbal demands, verbal threats, and physical violence. Examples of verbal pressure include: 

  • “If you have a baby, you will never have to worry about me leaving you. I will always be around.”
  • “You would have my baby if you really loved me.”
  • “I’ll leave you if you don’t get pregnant.”
  • “I’ll hurt you if you don’t agree to become pregnant.”
  • “I’ll have a baby with someone else if you don’t become pregnant.

Pregnancy Coercion

Pregnancy coercion is the act of controlling the outcome of a pregnancy – to either force the continuation or termination of the pregnancy – by threats or acts of violence if the woman does not comply with the perpetrator’s demands or wishes.

Am I Experiencing Reproductive Coercion?

Ask yourself:

  • Has a current or former partner not let you use birth control, destroyed your birth control, or refused to wear a condom?
  • Has your partner ever tried to get you pregnant when you didn’t want to be?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to have an abortion or caused you to have a miscarriage?
  • Has your partner ever purposely given you an STD?

Answering yes to the above questions indicates you may be experiencing reproductive coercion in your relationship.

Adapted from Reproductive Coercion Wikipedia and Reproductive Coercion: Connecting The Dots Between Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy. 2010. Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.