Contraceptive sabotage — when the partner of a woman forbids, interferes with or otherwise prevents her from effectively controlling pregnancy risk — is a hugely underestimated issue, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has shed new light on the common method of abuse as well as who may be at risk.
Reproductive coercion is another term for contraceptive sabotage, and leading OB-GYNs say that doctors may not realize how widespread it is, nor screen for the situation in at-risk patients. According to a report in the February edition of the medical journal Obstetrics Gynecology, contraceptive sabotage may include destroying, hiding or coercing a woman out of using birth control or deliberately exposing her to a sexually transmitted disease.
Dr. Eve Espey is chairwoman of the ACOG’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, and she explains that awareness of the prevalence of reproductive abuse or contraceptive sabotage is low among doctors, explaining:
“Most ob/gyns are probably unfamiliar with sexual and reproductive coercion as an entity and probably don’t ask about it … It’s hard to determine the prevalence of this form of abuse, and it’s understood that most [domestic] violence is under-reported.”
“Given how prevalent [domestic] violence is, reproductive coercion is probably not uncommon.”