Sexual coercion refers to ways in which male partners use sex to impregnate a woman against her will and/or sabotage contraceptives or other practices of safe sex. By forcing a woman to have a child or exposing her to STDs, a man is exerting power and control over his partner in ways which could increase financial, emotional and physical dependence, making it especially hard for a woman to leave. Sexual coercion could be a big reason why women in abusive relationships are more likely to have unintended pregnancies compared to women in healthy relationships. A new study entitled "Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy," conducted by researchers at University of California David School of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health, reveals that more women become pregnant against their will rather than by neglectful use of birth control, as previously perceived.
"This study highlights an under-recognized phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners,” said lead author Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the UC Davis School of Medicine and a practitioner at UC Davis Children's Hospital. “Not only is reproductive coercion associated with violence from male partners, but when women report experiencing both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk for unintended pregnancy increases significantly.”*
To read more about the study's key findings and methodology, check out The Family Violence Prevention Fund and The Advocates for Human Rights.