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Coerced Abortion – The Neglected Face of Reproductive Coercion

Published: 19 October 2022

Abstract: Reproductive coercion encompasses a collection of pregnancy promoting and pregnancy avoiding behaviours. Coercion may vary in severity and be perpetrated by intimate partners or others. Research is complicated by the inclusion of behaviours that do not necessarily involve an intention to influence reproduction, such as contraceptive sabotage. These behaviours are the most common, but are not always included in survey instruments. This may explain why the prevalence of reproductive coercion varies widely. Prevalence also varies when coerced abortion is included in survey instruments. When it is, it seems roughly comparable in prevalence to coercion intended to impregnate. The extent and nature of coerced abortion can also be derived from studies that explore the reasons why women access abortion, the relationship between abortion and intimate partner violence, and online blogs and forums. This narrative review of reproductive coercion examines the evidence and attempts to comprehend why coerced abortion has been neglected.
Keywords: Reproductive coercion / coerced abortion / intimate partner violence / pregnancy / autonomy / abuse

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