Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Newsweek: Coerced Reproduction, by Sarah Kliff:
Experts are studying a phenomenon that brings a whole new meaning to the term 'unwanted pregnancy.'
About a decade ago, Elizabeth Miller remembers seeing a certain teenage girl at a hospital clinic for adolescents in Boston. The patient thought she might be pregnant and asked for a test. When it came out negative, Miller started asking the standard questions, inquiring as to whether her patient wanted to be pregnant (she didn't) and whether she was using contraceptives (she wasn't). So Miller explained all of the birth-control options and, as she describes it, "sent her on her merry way with a brown bag of condoms." It was, by most measures, a pretty routine appointment.
Except that, two weeks later, the same patient was back at the hospital, in the emergency room after her partner pushed her down the stairs. "That was the wake-up call where I started thinking there might be a relationship between the two situations," says Miller, now an assistant professor of pediatrics at University of California, Davis. . . .
This month, Miller published a study in the journal Contraception detailing "reproductive coercion," when the male partner pressures the other, through verbal threats, physical aggression, or birth-control sabotage, to become pregnant. According to Miller's research, about a third of women reporting partner violence experienced reproductive coercion, as did 15 percent of women who had never reported violence. . . .