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Birth Control Sabotage and Coercion by Teenage Boys- What I Think

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It is hard to believe that teenage boys would sabotage their girlfriends’ birth control in order to get them pregnant, but according to a new study, that is exactly what they are doing.

Researchers at UC Davis surveyed 1,300 young women, ranging in age from 16 to 29, at five reproductive health clinics in Northern California. The young women were asked questions about birth control sabotage, partner violence and pregnancy coercion. The results of the study concluded that one in five women had experienced pregnancy coercion and 15 percent had experienced birth control sabotage. Sadly, more than half had undergone physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. Unsurprisingly, the researchers reached the conclusion that the rate of unintended pregnancy was double among women who had undergone partner violence, or pregnancy coercion.

Elizabeth Miller, a co-author of the study, said the following, “This study highlights an under-recognized phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners.”

Another co-author of the study, Jay Silverman, said that reproductive coercion explains why unintended pregnancies are much more common among abused women and teens.

Shari Roan, the author of the news release, said that maybe everyone has been too concentrated on contraceptives and that the rates of unintended pregnancy might go down if “…more young women learned to recognize, avoid or leave abusive relationships or were given the skills and support do so.”

I totally agree with that, but believe that the burden lies with the boys.

I have known about teenage boyfriends abusing their girlfriends. What shocked me is the fact that by one coercive means or another some of them are determined to make their girlfriends pregnant. In other words, they are going against the will of their girlfriends, thereby denying them their right to reproductive choice.

Is getting the girlfriend pregnant some sort of badge of honor?

Are they cognizant of the fact that they are bringing a human being into the world?

Add a Comment2 Comments

Hi Susan,
Parents definitely have to keep those badge of honor boys away from young women. You really gave some great insights as to why those boys would want to sabotage their girlfriends' pregnancies. These teenage guys could also be suffering from a terrible low self-esteem, although that of course is no excuse whatsover. This problem has all kinds of ramifications that eventually affect all of us.

February 6, 2010 - 8:58am
HERWriter Guide

Lord, this is scary.

I do think there is a 'badge of honor' thing going in here but mostly I think it's a way of asserting dominance over "their woman". It's a way to tell her that she belongs to him, that he is now linked to her for life and that she may as well stay with him because who else would want to date a teen mother? It's also a sign to warn other males away. Ego run amok.

I agree also that these young men are lacking (or is that just hope? Because I'd hate to think that these guys are nothing but dominant punks....just because....) in role models. I was 34 before I had the nerve to have a baby because it terrified me to be responsible for another human life. And it's IS scary so a high-functioning person SHOULD have nerves about it! This is baby human we're talking about, not a puppy!

Reason #135897 why birth control should be free to all women. Not that it will eliminate these kinds of pregnancies but it may reduce them.

It also shows the need to educate our young women that no means no and having to "give it up" to a man because he says so is utter insanity. And these young men need to be kept away from women. They can get all the therapy they need, but in the meantime, parents need to keep their "badge of honor" totin' boys away from these young women.

February 5, 2010 - 1:12pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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