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Reproductive Coercion: Not a New Phenomenon

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Domestic Abuse related image Photo: Getty Images

A study conducted recently found that one in four women said a partner pressured them to become pregnant or sabotaged their birth control. An interesting read, but this study won’t be found in any academic journal.

San Francisco director of health at the Family Violence Prevention Fund Lisa James was part of a team conducting an over-the-phone study on violent partners and pregnancy pressure.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline conducted a study where they say one in four women who called in for advice agreed to answer their study questions. Of those who did respond, about a quarter said yes to one or more of these three questions:

“Has your partner or ex ever told you not to use any birth control?”

“Has your partner or ex-partner ever tried to force or pressure you to become pregnant?”

“Has your partner or ex ever made you have sex without a condom so that you would get pregnant?”

One in six answered yes to the question “Has your partner or ex-partner ever taken off the condom during sex so that you would get pregnant?”

The hotline’s report is anything but methodologically sound and hence, why it is not to be published in any academic journal as a stand-alone study. Background information was not gathered on the participants and answers were provided anonymously. There is no comparison group, either.

Instead, it was based on answers to four questions posed to 3,169 women around the country who contacted the domestic violence hot line between Aug. 16 and Sept. 26, 2010, who were not in immediate danger and who agreed to participate. About 6,800 callers refused to answer the questions.

In and of itself, not a research study, but the information gathered from the exercise lends itself to delving deeper into the topic of men who abuse women physically and emotionally who may also sabotage their partners’ birth control, ultimately trying to impregnate the women against their will.

Dr. Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis assisted with the study.

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