Reproductive Coercion

Reproductive coercion is a pattern of deliberate, coercive, and/or forceful behaviors by one partner to control and interfere with the other's sexual and reproductive health. It is another strategy some abusers use as a way to gain and maintain power and control in relationships. This type of abuse includes pregnancy coercion (pressuring someone into getting pregnant) and birth control sabotage.

Are you experiencing reproductive coercion? This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Verbally pressuring you to get pregnant or not use birth control
  • Harming or threatening to harm you if you don't get pregnant
  • Purposefully giving you a sexually transmitted disease or infection
  • Forcing you to have sex without birth control
  • Trying to make you have a miscarriage
  • Hiding, removing, or otherwise sabotaging your birth control (pills, ring, patch, etc)
  • Forcing you to use birth control
  • Preventing you from getting an abortion, or pressuring or forcing you to get an abortion

  • Refusing to withdraw ("pull out") when that was the agreed upon method of birth control or refusing to participate in any birth control method previously agreed upon

Facts and Statistics:

  • Forty percent of pregnant women who have been exposed to abuse report that their pregnancy was unintended, compared to just eight percent of non-abused women.(Futures Without Violence)
  • According to various studies, adolescent girls in physically abusive relationships were 3.5 to 6 times more likely to become pregnant than non-abused girls. (Futures Without Violence 1)
  • Women who reported physical violence were also nearly three times more likely to experience a sexually transmitted infection than women who have not reported any physical abuse. (Futures Without Violence )
  • In one study of clients at a family planning clinic in CA, one in five young women said they experienced pregnancy coercion and one in seven said they experienced active interference with contraception. (Miller)

Reproductive coercion is a violation of a person's bodily autonomy and right to well being. If you have been a victim of reproductive coercion, domestic violence organizations like Safe Passage and/or a healthcare provider can provide you with resources and support.