New form of domestic abuse: forced pregnancy

February 22, 2011

A different kind of domestic violence has been identified: pressuring a woman to have a child against her will. It’s called “reproductive coercion” and according to a survey released this week, it’s fairly common among victims of abuse.

One in four women who called the The National Domestic Violence Hotline said they were pressured to into having unprotected sex. Some were pushed into sex with out a condom, others had their pills flushed down the toilet or holes poked in their condoms.

This is not your standard “maybe we should try for another” pressure, according to Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund. It’s a deliberate act of control on partner’s body. “Birth control sabotage is a serious form of control that leads to unintended pregnancy and sexual transmitted infections,” says Soler, according to Ms. Magazine.

As a victim of physical abuse, the built-in fear of angering her partner had one woman sneaking her pill in the bathroom and another worried her boyfriend would be “furious” she got her period, according to The New York Times report on the survey.

Soler explains the phenomenon of pregnancy pressure as a way to “a way to trap or control their partner.” Here were the questions raised in the survey related to reproductive coercion:

  • “Has your partner or ex ever told you not to use any birth control?”
  • “Has your partner or ex-partner ever tried to force or pressure you to become pregnant?”
  • “Has your partner or ex ever made you have sex without a condom so that you would get pregnant?”

Of the women who answered yes to these questions, 79 percent also were victims of physical abuse.

Respectfully submitted via Shine by Piper Weiss


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