Blog Posts

Reproductive health and partner abuse

The Family Violence and Prevention Fund has a new fact sheet on reproductive health and partner abuse (PDF).

Sexual coercion and violence is a costly and pervasive problem, and women of reproductive age – in particular, those ages 16 to 24 – are at greatest risk.1 Violence limits women’s ability to manage their reproductive health and exposes them to sexually transmitted diseases. Abuse during pregnancy can have lasting harmful effects for a woman, the developing fetus and newborns. A growing body of research indicates that the strong association of intimate partner violence and unintended pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted disease results from male coercive behaviors around sex and contraception.

This is an area where I'd like to see more activism from pro-life advocates outside of the establishment Movement. Most of us agree that a woman has the right to make her own decisions about contraception, and all of us agree that she has the right to make her own decisions about whether and when to have sex. A concerted educational and activist campaign against reproductive coercion could make a real difference in the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion — not to mention in the lives of women.