don’t just come from our courts and politicians. They also come from our bedrooms and partners. Reproductive coercion is abuse. And it happens any time a man tries to control a woman’s decision about pregnancy.
An American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists committee wants to help stop it, according to an opinion they published today in the latest issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.The committee wrote that it doesn’t know just how common reproductive coercion is in general, but that “birth control sabotage” was reported by 25% of teen girls with abusive partners and by 15% of women who were physically abused. Some women had their IUD or vaginal contraceptive ring pulled out. Other cases range from rape, to removing a condom during sex, to hiding a woman’s birth control. Reproductive coercion often includes trying to impregnate a woman against her will and can include using threats to pressure a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy or, on the other hand, terminate a desired pregnancy.
“Often, it’s about taking away choices, taking away freedom, control and self-esteem,” says Rebekah Gee, an obstetrician and gynecologist in New Orleans and assistant professor at Louisiana State University, who has studied the problem but did not work on the opinion.