Reproductive coercion -- forced pregnancy -- is more common than you might think, and health care professionals in urban Northern California neighborhoods are examining it.
According to the LA Times, reproductive coercion occurs when a woman is bullied into pregnancy by a boyfriend who threatens to break up with her or is tricked into it by a man who sabotages her birth control.
The study broke women into four groups. In two of the groups, women were asked if they were being pressured into pregnancy. In the other two, they were not asked.
The study followed up with the women later and showed that those who were asked the questions about coercion were far more likely to avoid unwanted pregnancies than those who were not.
It's another form of domestic violence, but very few people (myself included) have heard of it.
It doesn't really seem like this should be a problem. After all, we're the ones who carry the babies. Our bodies, our choices, right?
But pregnancy coercion can happen anywhere. These are some of the questions the clinics asked to recognize it:
- "Have you hidden birth control from your partner so he wouldn't get you pregnant?"
- "Has your partner tried to force you to become pregnant when you didn't want to be?"
- "Does your partner mess with your birth control?"
- "Does your partner refuse to use condoms when you ask?"
- "Has your partner ever hurt you physically because you didn't agree to become pregnant?"
It's an interesting turnaround. We so often hear about men's reproductive rights, but women can also be tricked and pressured into having babies.
Have you ever heard of this?
Image via Gnarls Monkey/Flickr