Reproductive Coercion

As Melissa says, we have the cultural narrative of the woman who gets pregnant to “trap” a man, but this pretty much turns it on its head:  men use pregnancy to trap women.

Teens susceptible to reproductive coercion – Newsweek article

From the Newsweek article:

This month, Miller published a study in the journal Contraception detailing “reproductive coercion,” when the male partner pressures the other, through verbal threats, physical aggression, or birth-control sabotage, to become pregnant. According to Miller’s research, about a third of women reporting partner violence experienced reproductive coercion, as did 15 percent of women who had never reported violence.

Overall, rates of reproductive coercion among family-planning-clinic patients are suprisingly high: about one in five women report their partner having attempted to coerce them into pregnancy. “What we’re seeing is that, in the larger scheme of violence against women and girls, it is another way to maintain control,” says Miller, who studied 1,300 female patients culled from five family-planning clinics in Northern California. “You have guys telling their partners, ‘I can do this because I’m in control’ or ‘I want to know that I can have you forever.’ ” This may help explain previous findings of higher rates of unintended pregnancies in relationships with partner violence.

The women in Miller’s study were between 16 to 29; Miller will publish a study later in 2010 that finds similar numbers in demographics of older women. That said, younger women may have a more difficult time dealing with reproductive coercion: they have less experience in relationships, and, if they are minors, less access to doctors’ appointments and emergency contraception. Particularly for teenagers in relationships with older men, the age difference “may have profound implications for perceived and actual reproductive choices for young adult women,” Miller wrote in a 2007 paper on the same subject. “Such factors may also lead to fewer adolescents reporting such reproductive control as abusive, forced, or coercive.” Put another way, teenage girls are at greater risk of not recognizing reproductive coercion as problematic, and allowing it to continue.

Additional links:

Violence and reproductive health: current knowledge and future research directions. Gazmararian JA, Petersen R, Spitz AM, Goodwin MM, Saltzman LE, Marks JS. Matern Child Health J. 2000 Jun;4(2):79-84. Review.PMID: 10994575

Miller’s latest study hasn’t been indexed in PubMed yet and is behind a paywall, but I’ll try to remember to check back and update when it’s available.


About The Intransigent One

Sometimes I like to post pictures of my cat or my garden or my sewing or other stuff I made or did. Other times I like to rant.
This entry was posted in Reality has a Feminist Bias and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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