Reproductive coercion

Clearinghouse Connector – August 2015

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Reproductive coercion is a prevalent form of violence against women. Despite this, reproductive coercion has been neglected in terms of policy development and law reform, partly because it is seen as sitting between the separate though overlapping spheres of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Reproductive coercion is a form of violence whereby the perpetrator uses manipulation, sabotage or coercion to deny women reproductive autonomy and to limit women’s ability to leave a violent relationship.

Common forms of reproductive coercion include sabotaging birth control, refusing to use contraception while coercing sex, forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy or to have an abortion. Coerced pregnancy is used as a tool of control, to limit a woman’s ability to have contact with others or engage in study or paid work outside the home. Reproductive coercion therefore intersects with other forms of violence against women including financial abuse.

Reproductive coercion most often takes place in the context of intimate partner relationships, but can also be orchestrated by the state or other groups as a means of population control or ethnic cleansing. It can also take the form of denying women access to safe and legal abortion services. Forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities is another form of reproductive coercion.


Male partner pregnancy-controlling behaviour: the emerging crisis point of violence against women The Age. Daily Life 2014

Domestic violence, coerced pregnancy and abortion : recognising reproductive coercion Children By Choice, 2014?

Reproductive coercion : the facts, stats, and scary reality of this growing problem Public Health Watch, 2013

If you really care about preventing domestic and sexual violence, you should care about reproductive justice National Women’s Law Center, 2013

Intimate partner violence context

Intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion : global barriers to women’s reproductive control PLoS Medicine, 2014

Reproductive and sexual coercion American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion, 2013

Reproductive coercion and co-occurring intimate partner violence in obstetrics and gynecology patients [Summary] American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2014

Contraception access

Birth control sabotage as domestic violence : a legal response California Law Review, 2012

How does intimate partner violence affect condom and oral contraceptive use in the United States? : a systematic review of the literature Contraception, 2015

Unintended and coerced pregnancy

Recent reproductive coercion and unintended pregnancy among female family planning clients Contraception, 2014

Violence against women and unintended pregnancy : building connections Women’s Health Activist Newsletter, 2014

Reproductive coercion and partner violence: implications for clinical assessment of unintended pregnancy Expert Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2010

Abortion context

Male perpetration of intimate partner violence and involvement in abortions and abortion-related conflict American Journal of Public Health, 2010

Risk of violence from the man involved in the pregnancy after receiving or being denied an abortion BMC Medicine, 2014

Childbirth options

“Women are feeling bullied and coerced”: Australia’s rising c-section rate SBS Australia. The Feed, 2015

Women’s reproductive autonomy: medicalisation and beyond Journal of Medical Ethics, 2006

Forced sterilisation

Dehumanized : the forced sterilization of women and girls with disabilities in Australia Women With Disabilities Australia, 2013

Fact sheet : forced sterilization Women With Disabilities Australia, 2014

Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia : first report Australia. Parliament. Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs, 2013

Experiences of coercion to sterilize and forced sterilization among women living with HIV in Latin America Journal of the International AIDS Society, 2015

Forced marriage

Forced marriage Australia. Attorney-General’s Department, 2015

Health promotion

Exposing reproductive coercion : a toolkit for awareness-raising, assessment, and intervention National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 2014

Reproductive and sexual coercion: counseling strategies Contemporary Ob/Gyn, 2015

Policy development

Domestic violence in Australia : Children by Choice submission to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee July 2014 Children By Choice, 2014

Governmental coercion in reproductive decision making Guttmacher Policy Review, 2012

Related websites

Australian Study of Health and Relationships Sexual coercion and intimate partner violence

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