The Reproductive Coercion Project is a 3-year project funded by Status of Women.
It is informed by our previous report on reproductive coercion “Bridging Services for Women” that aimed to collect data and report on the needs of SRH and VAW service providers in terms of their knowledge, comfort, and resources of each other’s areas of expertise concerning reproductive coercion.
Our goal is to build a coordinated community response to reproductive coercion, abuse and sexual and reproductive health by increasing communication and knowledge-sharing between anti-violence workers and sexual and reproductive health workers. This project will involve the development of workshop and training materials that will be presented to VAW workers and sexual and reproductive health workers. The materials will work from the understanding that safety and sexual and reproductive health play an important role in every woman’s life. Living free of violence is foundational to woman’s well-being and equity in society. Similarly, access to accurate sexual and reproductive health information is essential to women’s well-being and decision making for her own body. Providing women with sexual health information, (e.g. anatomy, contraception, safer sex, STIs, and pregnancy options) is important in ensuring that women have the tools at their disposal to make the best options for themselves, including when and how many children they will have.
What is Reproductive Coercion?
Reproductive coercion is any behavior limiting someone’s ability to decide when and under which condition will they parent. It is limiting someone’s choice to not parent and their options for preventing or ending a pregnancy through the use of manipulation, intimidation, threats, and/or actual acts of violence. Reproductive coercion is about power and control, most often manifests within the context of heterosexual relationships, it also happens within family dynamics, non-heteronormative relationships and service and health providers.
When an individual pressures or coerces an individual into becoming pregnant against their will.
- Refusing to negotiate condom use
- Constant promotion of pregnancy although one partner has already decided not to conceive
- Manipulation, emotional and verbal abuse such as swearing, calling names
- Forcing a partner to have multiple pregnancies and births within a short time frame so making them dependent financially and less able to leave without difficulty or risk.
Birth control sabotage:
When an individual interferes with someone’s use of contraception to cause them to become pregnant against their will.
- Stealthing (removing condoms without the sexual partner’s knowledge)
- Throwing away BC pills
- Removing IUDs, rings, patches
What’s new with the Reproductive Coercion Project?
In August 2018, we published a needs assessment to further define gaps between GBV and SRH services in order to improve access and response to those experiencing RC; to understand the intersectional knowledge needs of service providers in order to better support those from marginalized communities; to identify systemic barriers for individuals accessing services; and to identify current screening and care practices. The result is a robust assessment of organizational knowledge and capacity to provide trauma-informed support to individuals experiencing reproductive coercion. To read the needs assessment in full, click here.