Two new studies have quantified what advocates for young women’s health have observed for years: the striking frequency with which it is in fact young men who try to force their partners to get pregnant. Their goal: not to settle down as family men but rather to exert what is perhaps the most intimate, and lasting, form of control. (“Control” may also include attempts to force both pregnancy and abortion, even in the same relationship.) Together with earlier small-scale studies and reports by those in the field, the new figures help fill out the picture of a long-known, but under-addressed, phenomenon now referred to as "reproductive coercion,” in which abusive partners subject young women already at risk of violence to the additional health risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The new data confirm that we must expand not only our assumptions about who’s forcing whom to get pregnant but also our understanding of the meaning and causes of “unwanted” pregnancy. “If we are serious about stopping unplanned pregnancy in this country, we simply must address the sexual violence and reproductive control that often cause it,” says Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, which has been a leading advocate on the issue.Reproductive coercion is often the result of violence and abuse in relationships. Of course, how can we be surprised that this happens so often when there is an entire political party dedicated to promoting reproductive coercion on a planetary basis? Any politician who engages in an anti-abortion campaign or measure participates in a large-scale reproductive coercion.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Reproductive Coercion: Who's to Blame?
One of the most persistent myths that women-haters love to spread is about women surreptitiously getting pregnant in order to keep men in their lives and get access to their money. It has always been obvious to anybody with an ounce of common sense that this is nothing but a ridiculous chauvinistic myth. Research demonstrates that it's men who engineer unwanted pregnancies. Lynn Harris analyzes this phenomenon in her incisive article "When Teen Pregnancy Is No Accident":