Reproductive Coercion Is a Form of Domestic Violence

Kane County domestic violence lawyersMost couples discuss whether they want to have children and a tentative timeline for doing so before they marry. Sometimes, these plans and timelines change after the couple marries, causing one or both partners to be disappointed by the other's new perspective. This can lead to arguments, resentment, and in many cases, divorce.

In some cases, it leads to reproductive coercion. This is an act or threat of violence against one's partner for failing to comply with one's sexual or reproductive desires. What many individuals do not realize is that reproductive coercion is a form of sexual abuse, which is a form of domestic violence.

Examples of Reproductive Coercion

All domestic violence stems from the desire to control one's partner and his or her actions. Reproductive coercion is no different. Examples of reproductive coercion include:

  • Tampering with an individual's birth control. This can include microwaving birth control pills, poking holes in condoms, or otherwise intentionally causing birth control to fail;   
  • Preventing an individual from accessing birth control. This can include refusing to drive a partner to the pharmacy to pick up his or her prescription or hiding his or her contraceptives;
  • Using physical force to have unprotected sex with a partner;     
  • Using force to intentionally induce a miscarriage;
  • Using emotional manipulation tactics to pressure one's partner into complying with one's reproductive plan;     
  • Threatening physical violence against one's pregnant partner for seeking an abortion or for refusing to seek an abortion; and   
  • Threatening physical violence against a partner if he or she does not agree to have a child.

Reproductive coercion can be committed against a male or female partner. It can happen in same sex relationships as well as in heterosexual relationships. It does not matter if the couple is married or not – when threats enter a relationship, abuse has entered the relationship.

Your Body, Your Choice

Remember, you are the only person who has the right to decide how you use your body. If you plan to have a child, you have the right to have children according to your own time line. You also have the right to decide not to have a child, even if you previously thought you did want to become a parent. Although your spouse has the right to leave the marriage because of a disagreement regarding when or if you have children, he or she does not have the right to dictate if or when you have children.

Work With an Experienced Kane County Divorce Lawyer

If you are not sure about whether you are a victim of domestic violence, discuss your situation with a counselor. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine the line between a disagreement with your spouse and a truly unhealthy relationship. If you determine that it is in your best interest to end your marriage, set up your free legal consultation with a member of the Goostree Law Group to discuss your divorce options. We are a team of experienced Kane County divorce lawyers who can help you end your unhealthy marriage as painlessly as possible.

 

Source:

http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Health-Care-for-Underserved-Women/Reproductive-and-Sexual-Coercion

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Goostree Law Group

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Wheaton, IL 60187

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