Avoiding Reproductive Coercion
As states attempt to limit access to abortion clinics, abusive men across the country are increasingly embracing a new strategy: reproductive coercion. This is the practice of coercing a partner into a pregnancy–or, in some cases, outright forcing them through deceit or physical violence. Simply being aware of this new phenomenon may better equip you to fight back. And while abuse, especially reproductive coercion, is never the victim’s fault and can’t always be prevented, there are a couple of strategies you can implement to stay as safe as possible.
Use Birth Control You Control
One of the most common forms of reproductive coercion happens when a man pokes holes in a condom, or takes off a condom without his partner’s knowledge. You might not be able to prevent this, but you can use a backup method you control, such as the pill, patch, or IUD.
Know How to Get Plan B
Plan B–also known as the morning after pill–can help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It works best if you take it as quickly as possible, but it can reduce the chances of a pregnancy for up to a week after sex. It is not an abortion. It works by preventing ovulation, and if you do ovulate, preventing the egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus.
Have an Abortion Plan
Having an abortion plan in place can help you feel prepared should you need to end an unwanted pregnancy. Consider keeping a list of local abortion clinics and the services they offer. Learn about the process ahead of time, and consider making a list of the things that are most important to you should you ever need an abortion. This makes decision making easier at a high-stress moment. If you prefer a medication abortion, call as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
Choose Your Partners Wisely
The person whom you have children with will be a permanent part of your life. Indeed, there is no decision in life more permanent or with more long-term consequences than becoming a parent with another person. So if you think you might have kids with someone, now in the future, choose that someone wisely. And remember, children rarely make a bad situation better, and almost never inspire an otherwise abusive person to stop being abusive.
If you are in an abusive relationship and need help now, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Many abortion clinic staff members are familiar with the signs of domestic violence. You can always reach out to one of them to provide you with a referral for help and assistance. You are not alone. Please seek help and support if you are being coerced into having an unwanted pregnancy.