Reproductive coercion: an under-recognized challenge for primary care patients

Fam Pract. 2016 Jun;33(3):286-9. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmw020. Epub 2016 Apr 1.


Background: Reproductive coercion impacts many women of reproductive age.

Objectives: We sought to explore how reproductive coercion, including pregnancy coercion and birth control sabotage, impacts women in a primary care population.

Methods: We administered a survey to women accessing care at a family medicine clinic in the Bronx, NY. Reproductive coercion was defined as a positive response to at least one of five questions adapted from previous studies. We assessed the association of reproductive and demographic characteristics with a lifetime history of reproductive coercion.

Results: At least one form of reproductive coercion was reported by 24% of the 97 respondents. Current lack of personal safety and a history of transactional sex for money or a place to stay were significantly associated with having experienced reproductive coercion (all P ≤ 0.02).

Conclusions: Reproductive coercion was common among women of reproductive age at this urban family medicine clinic in an underserved community, and was associated with other forms of control and violence. Clinicians are advised to discuss birth control sabotage and pregnancy coercion with their patients.

Keywords: Birth control sabotage; contraception; patients; reproductive coercion; underserved; violence; women..

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coercion*
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • New York
  • Primary Health Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Young Adult