Reproductive coercion: uncloaking an imbalance of social power

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Jan;214(1):74-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.08.045. Epub 2015 Aug 24.


Reproductive coercion involves behavior that interferes with contraceptive and pregnancy choices of women and occasionally men. This includes birth control sabotage (intentional destruction of a woman's chosen method of contraception), pregnancy pressure (behaviors to coerce pregnancy against one's wishes), and pregnancy coercion (threats to direct the outcome of a pregnancy). All are associated with serious reproductive consequences including unintended pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted infections, poor pregnancy outcomes, and psychological trauma. This article presents an overview of the recent literature surrounding reproductive coercion and how it relates to the reproductive health outcomes of women, adolescents, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Men's experience with reproductive coercion will also be discussed. Clinical implications and evidence-based strategies for assessment and intervention will be identified.

Keywords: birth control sabotage; pregnancy pressure; reproductive coercion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coercion*
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Power, Psychological
  • Reproductive Health*
  • Sexuality*