Reproductive coercion and partner violence: implications for clinical assessment of unintended pregnancy

Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Sep;5(5):511-515. doi: 10.1586/eog.10.44.


Unintended pregnancy is common, disproportionately affects younger women and is associated with intimate partner violence. Forced sex, fear of negotiating condom and contraceptive use, inconsistent condom use and partner interference with access to healthcare all contribute to this association between unintended pregnancy and intimate partner violence. A growing body of literature on male partner influences on contraception and pregnancy decision-making has identified a range of male partner pregnancy-controlling behaviors which we have termed reproductive coercion, defined as male partners' attempts to promote pregnancy in their female partners through verbal pressure and threats to become pregnant (pregnancy coercion), direct interference with contraception (birth-control sabotage), and threats and coercion related to pregnancy continuation or termination (control of pregnancy outcomes). This article examines recent studies on male partner reproductive coercion, underscores the link between unintended pregnancy and intimate partner violence and highlights future directions for research as well as implications for clinical practice.