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On International Day Of Action For Women's Health, SteadyHealth reflects on reproductive coercion. What happens when your abusive partner decides if you get pregnant, and how can society help abused women?

When we think of domestic violence, we usually form a picture of a man who is physically abusive towards his partner, frequently covering her in bruises and leaving her with little control over her own life.

 


Domestic violence, unfortunately, occurs in a large variety of ways — it is worth mentioning that women are certainly not the only victims, though abusive partners are often men. Physical abuse frequently forms a big part of domestic violence, but emotional and psychological abusive and manipulation are other pieces of the puzzle. One other piece that society tends to neglect is reproductive coercion.

Control over one's reproductive choices is a fundamental part of western civilization, and it can be hard to imagine that women in developed countries are being forced to get pregnant and stay pregnant. Intentional exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, partner sabotage of birth control, and pressure to undergo abortion are other elements of a living hell many more women than we'd ever like to admit call reality.

Reproductive coercion is not limited to rural communities in developing countries; women right within our communities could be facing this horror, and most likely are. SteadyHealth joins women's rights campaigners from around the world in marking International Day Of Action For Women's Health today. We recognize that reproductive coercion, and domestic violence in general, is far from straight forward, and think that ensuring abused women maintain control over if and how they get pregnant is essential.

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