Partner abuse a factor in unintended pregnancies

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Washington, January 26 (ANI): Women who experience reproductive coercion, efforts made by male partners to sabotage birth control or coerce pregnancy, and partner violence are at increased risk of unintended pregnancy, says a study.

Researchers also found that reproductive coercion, including damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives, was frequently associated with physical or sexual violence.

Lead study author Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the UC Davis School of Medicine and a practitioner at UC Davis Children's Hospital, said: "This study highlights an under-recognized phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners.

"Not only is reproductive coercion associated with violence from male partners, but when women report experiencing both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk for unintended pregnancy increases significantly."

The team found that 15 percent of the women surveyed said they experienced birth control sabotage, while 53 percent said they had experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner.

More than a third of the women who reported partner violence, 35 percent, also reported either pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.

Jay Silverman, the study's senior author and an associate professor of society, human development and health in the Harvard School of Public Health, said: "We have known about the association between partner violence and unintended pregnancy for many years. What this study shows is that reproductive coercion likely explains why unintended pregnancies are far more common among abused women and teens."

Miller added: "This study confirms that women experiencing partner violence are more likely to have greater need for sexual and reproductive health services. Thus, clinical settings that offer reproductive health services likely offer the greatest opportunity to identify women experiencing partner violence and to ensure that women receive the counseling and support they may need."

The study, "Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy", was published in the journal Contraception. (ANI)

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