Although domestic violence is often discussed in relation to family law, it is a distinct crime in many jurisdictions. This means that all the forms of domestic violence or abuse, including reproductive coercion, can attract criminal charges. The following questions and answers will shed more light on this crime:
What Is Reproductive Coercion?
Reproductive coercion is the use of violence or threats to control a partner's reproductive health. Most of those who engage in reproductive coercion do so to pressure their partners into becoming pregnant, avoiding pregnancy or terminating their pregnancy.
What Are the Forms of Reproductive Coercion?
Reproductive coercion takes various forms, but some of the most common ones include these three:
Pregnancy Coercion and Pressure
This involves threatening or coercing a woman to become pregnant. The threats can take different forms; for example, a person may threaten to leave or abandon their partner if the woman doesn't conceive within a certain period.
This route is taken by those who don't want their partners to carry their pregnancies to full term. It can also take the form of physical violence or threats. For example, a person may threaten to withhold finances if their pregnant partner refuses to terminate the pregnancy.
Birth Control Sabotage
These behaviors are meant to trick a person into having a baby when they aren't ready or willing to do so. For example, a person may hide their partner's birth control pills, replace birth control pills with placebos or break the condom when the partner isn't aware.
Which Gender Does Reproductive Coercion Affect?
Both sexes can be victims and perpetrators of reproductive coercion. For example, a woman can lie to their male partner that they are using birth control pills and conceive without the partner's knowledge. On the flip side, a man can mess up with the condom and impregnate a woman who wasn't ready for the pregnancy. In most cases, however, it is the women who tend to be victims with the men being the perpetrators.
Does It Involve Other Forms of Abuse?
In most cases, reproductive coercion is linked to other forms of domestic abuse or violence. For example, when a person withholds finances to force their partner to terminate a pregnancy, the person is committing both sexual (reproductive coercion) and financial abuse. In many cases, however, abusive partners resort to violence when their threats fail to have the desired consequences.
As you can see, cases of reproductive coercion or domestic violence, in general, can be very complicated. This is not something you would want to face alone. If you are ever accused of sexual violence, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your defense.