Did you know:
- That girls who experienced physical dating violence were 2.8 times more likely to fear the perceived consequences of negotiating condom use than non-abused girls?
- More than one-third (38.8%) of adolescent girls tested for STI/HIV have experience dating violence.
- For adolescent youth, 80%-85% of all pregnancies are unintended.
Identified as reproductive coercion, many young women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) are also experiencing issues with birth control sabotage, pregnancy coercion and sexual coercion. As defined in an earlier post, “Understanding the intersections of reproductive justice and violence against women,” reproductive justice refers to the power to make healthy and informed decisions about our bodies, sexuality and reproduction.
In a briefing held this week at the California Capitol, presented by the Family Violence Prevention Fund and The California Endowment, and sponsored by the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the California Latino Legislative Caucus, Dr. Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., of UC Davis made the connection between intimate partner violence and family planning, birth control sabotage, pregnancy pressure, and unintended pregnancies as well as the importance of addressing these issues in health care settings. As noted in the statistics above, young women are faced with many of the underlying layers related to intimate partner violence, layers that they can’t generally identify but do experience. Adolescents are also much more likely to access health care and family planning services before accessing services from a domestic violence or sexual assault agency, so providing health care and family planning centers with the resources to address the issues related to reproductive coercion and its connection to IPV, including sexual violence, is important.
Dr. Miller identified three intervention methods that health care providers may begin to practice:
- Ask the questions. You can use resources like the FVPF’s Reproductive Health Safety Cards to help ask the questions.
- Provide options for birth control such as emergency contraception and other safe forms of birth control.
- Connect with the local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies.
Other organizations such as the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Vision y Compromiso, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice also shared how their agencies are working to increase awareness and help link resources for adolescent youth experiencing reproductive coercion and IPV.
For more information about the FVPF’s program and to access resources related to reproductive justice, you can visit the kNOw More project’s site here.
Below are additional resources related to Reproductive Health and IPV:
Policy Brief: Violence Prevention-Rethinking The Standard of Care for Family Panning
Dr. Miller’s: “Making the Connection”
Fact Sheet on Reproductive Health and IPV
State Assembly Report on Unintended Pregnancy
TIME Article: Study on Forced Pregnancy-Help for Women who Face Threat