• NEWS 90.9 KXJZ Sacramento
  • 90.5 KKTO Tahoe/Reno
  • 91.3 KUOP Stockton
  • 88.1 KQNC Quincy
  • MUSIC 88.9 KXPR Sacramento
  • 91.7 KXSR Groveland/Sonora
  • 88.7 KXJS Sutter/Yuba City

Simple Questions to Help Quell Pregnancy Coercion

Share | |
(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, August 30, 2010
Whether on T.V., in magazines, or in movies, young men are often portrayed as trying to avoid impregnating their partners.

"I think traditionally, we've thought about how women might try to get pregnant to trap a man, or hold onto a man," says UC Davis researcher, Dr. Elizabeth Miller. "But what we've identified in our studies is that the flip side happens as well."

When men put pressure on their girlfriends to have a baby, it's called Pregnancy Coercion.

"There are relationships where men try to control their female partners by messing with their birth control, flushing birth control pills down the toilet; preventing their girlfriends from going to the clinics to get birth control; refusing to use condoms; or even taking their condom off during sex in order to get her pregnant," Miller says.  

When a woman goes to a doctor for family or reproductive planning treatment, she is less likely to face that ongoing abuse if medical personnel ask these questions:

"Have you hidden birth control from your partner so he wouldn't get you pregnant?"
"Has your partner tried to force you to become pregnant when you didn't want to be?"
"Does your partner mess with your birth control?"
"Does your partner refuse to use condoms when you ask?"
"Has your partner ever hurt you physically because you didn't agree to become pregnant?"
Miller conducted the research. She says asking those questions in a simple intervention can dramatically change how young women view their relationship.

"That somebody in the clinic will actually ask about the relationship, and ask very explicitly about violence in the relationship, and about coercion in the relationship, it can have a very profound effect on patients," Miller says.
Many of the women who are dealing with pregnancy coercion are in their teens, and a recent Newsweek article suggests it could explain the U.S.'s high teen pregnancy rates.

"As providers, we can really help to prevent unintended pregnancy. And frankly, if a woman is in a controlling, and abusive, and unhealthy relationship, adding an unwanted pregnancy on top of that is really not what she needs," says Miller.

Miller's research shows a third of women who have reported abuse also report being pressured to conceive a child.
We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter

We Get Support From:

Become a Supporter