Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reproductive coercion  


I'm encouraging everyone to head over to AlterNet to check out a recent article, "My Boyfriend Stole My Birth Control": When Men Force Women to Get Pregnant Against Their Will.

Scary new evidence is showing that a significant number of women experience their partners trying to steal away their bodily control through "reproductive coercion," or the act of forcing a pregnancy onto someone.

In the largest study of this phenomenon to date, “Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy,” published in the January issue of the journal Contraception, lead researcher Elizabeth Miller and others surveyed nearly 1,300 16- to 29-year-old women who’d sought a variety of services at five different Northern California reproductive health clinics. Among those who had experienced intercourse, i.e., who could be at risk of unintended pregnancy, not only did 53 percent of respondents say they’d experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner, but one in five said they had experienced pregnancy coercion; 15 percent said they experienced birth control sabotage, including hiding or flushing birth control pills down the toilet, intentional breaking of condoms and removing contraceptive rings or patches. These figures were consistent from clinic to clinic.

Currently, this phenomenon is little-known, and the prevailing stereotype is still "the woman—call her the femme fertile—who conspires to get pregnant, perhaps by 'forgetting' to take her birth control pills, as a way to 'trap a man' and force marriage—or at least keep him in her life." But people need to know that there is another scarily common situation out there: the boyfriend or husband who, disgusted by a woman's ability to have reproductive control, goes to heinous measures to force pregnancies, abortions, or miscarriages onto his partner.

This is some seriously fucked-up stuff. Spread the word, feminists. Please.

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1 comments: to “ Reproductive coercion

  • August 30, 2010 at 3:23 AM  

    It took me +2 years to find a name for what I have gone through, and just tonight I found this. "Coerced reproduction" is what happened to me, I firmly believe.

    I unfortunately was weak enough, stupid enough, that I went through with the pregnancy, and now my husband and I are separated, and he has custody of our son. I feel like I am so mentally and emotionally unfit because of going through with it, that I don't want custody. I have been able to talk to a few people that are close that understand and sympathize, but for the most part I am seen as a bad person; a selfish and horrible example of a woman; and a "dead-beat" mother, though I attempted to have a relationship with my child for as long as I could pretend to not be unstable about it, and continue to provide my (future ex-)husband with any and all monetary support that I can.

    Thank you for posting this, and if anyone out there can direct me to a therapist or any kind of professional in the state of Florida that has any knowledge of this phenomenon, please let me know.