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Male Abusers Often Sabotage Birth Control With Partners

Study found physical violence often accompanied by attempts to get young women pregnant

MONDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A new report says that male partners of teenage girls and young women who engage in physical and sexual violence also often try to sabotage the birth control the women are using.

The study, which appears online in the January issue of Contraception, also finds that women who experience both birth-control sabotage and violence from their partner are twice as likely to have an unintended pregnancy.

"This study highlights an under-recognized phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners," study author Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the University of California at Davis School of Medicine, said in a news release from the school. "Not only is reproductive coercion associated with violence from male partners, but when women report experiencing both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk for unintended pregnancy increases significantly."

The study was conducted from 2008-2009 at five health clinics that deal with reproductive issues in Northern California. About 1,300 women aged 16 to 29 took part by responding to a computerized survey.

About 15 percent said they'd experienced birth-control sabotage, and more than half reported physical or sexual violence from a partner. More than one-third of those who said they had been the victim of partner violence also acknowledged experiencing either pregnancy coercion or birth-control sabotage, the researchers found.

"We have known about the association between partner violence and unintended pregnancy for many years," study senior author Jay Silverman, an associate professor of society, human development and health in the Harvard School of Public Health, said in the news release. "What this study shows is that reproductive coercion likely explains why unintended pregnancies are far more common among abused women and teens."

More information

The National Women's Health Network has more on birth-control sabotage.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: University of California at Davis, news release, Jan. 25, 2010

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