Reproductive Coercion is Abuse

Reproductive coercion is an extremely dangerous tactic abusers use to gain power and control over survivors’ reproductive health and reproductive decisions. Essentially, this form of abuse is when an abuser controls any reproductive choices a survivor is making or intentionally disregards a reproductive choice or boundary their partner has made.

It is not uncommon for abusers to force a survivor to stay with them by using reproductive coercion, and they can do this by hiding or destroying their birth control, tampering with other forms of contraception, barring survivors from accessing healthcare, or avoiding taking them to the doctor. When survivors cannot access the proper resources to get help, it can lead to dangerous procedures, mental health deterioration, suicide, and so much more.

Some of the key warning signs include

  • -Hiding or throwing away a person’s pills or pill packet
  • -Threatening behaviour that pressures a person to become pregnant when they do not want to, or keeping them from becoming pregnant when they do
  • -Injuring a pregnant person with the intention of tampering with their pregnancy
  • -Threatening to end the relationship or cause harm if someone doesn’t stop or start using contraception

Let’s look at the data:

  • -Those with unplanned pregnancies who are experiencing abuse see a decrease in abuse if they are able to access comprehensive medical care.
  • -One-third of women who report experiencing reproductive coercion also experienced physical abuse from the same partner.
  • -Homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant women in abusive relationships, and physical abuse only increases when a person in an abusive relationship becomes pregnant.
  • -Pregnant women who are survivors of abuse are more likely to give birth to preterm babies with lower birth weights; mothers are also less likely to nurse or bond with them.

The safest ways you can support victims of reproductive coercion are offering to listen to them without judgment, offering support, allow them to make decisions regarding their safety and needs, and providing them with resources.

If this information is reflective of your relationship, please consider calling our 24-hour hotline at (727) 895-4912 or talking to an advocate through our chat feature at www/

Sources: The World Health Organization, Rolling Stone, BMC Medicine Journal, The National Institute for Medicine, Family Planning, and American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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