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Coerced Reproduction: The New Domestic Abuse

Does domestic violence include a partner tricking a woman into becoming pregnant?


A study finds that men who abuse women are also more likely to sabotage their partner’s birth control. The New York Times reports on several studies that indicate how low-income teens and young adults with a history of violence are more likely to coerce their partners not to use birth control:

Several small studies have described this kind of coercion among low-income teenagers and young adults with a history of violence by intimate partners. Now, a report being released Tuesday by the federally financed National Domestic Violence Hotline says 1 in 4 women who agreed to answer questions after calling the hot line said a partner had pressured them to become pregnant, told them not to use contraceptives, or forced them to have unprotected sex.


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These men hide birth control medication from their partners, flush pills down the toilet, and even poke holes in condoms with the intent of getting their partners pregnant. This information comes from women who answered questions asked by the National Domestic Violence Hotline after they called in.

Of those who did respond, about a quarter said yes to one or more of these three questions: “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?”

One in six answered yes to the question “Has your partner or ex-partner ever taken off the condom during sex so that you would get pregnant?”

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Women being pressured and coerced to have children is an issue that does not come up often in our society, but that requires more attention surrounding the reproductive rights.


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