NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they don't know how common reproductive coercion is, but it is common enough that healthcare providers should screen women.
Veronica Gillispie, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans and a member of the committee that wrote the opinion for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said when a husband hides a wife's birth control pills or a boyfriend takes off a condom in the middle of sex in hopes of getting an unwilling girlfriend pregnant, that's reproductive coercion.
"We want to make sure that healthcare providers are aware that this is something that does go on and that it's a form of abuse," Gillispie said in a statement.
The committee cited studies that "birth control sabotage" was reported by 25 percent of teen girls with abusive partners and by 15 percent of women who were physically abused, USA Today reported.
Some men go as far as to pull out a woman's intrauterine device or vaginal contraceptive ring, the committee said.
"Often, it's about taking away choices, taking away freedom, control and self-esteem," said Rebekah Gee, an obstetrician and gynecologist in New Orleans and assistant professor at Louisiana State University, who not work on the opinion, but has studied the problem.
An abusive man might believe getting a woman pregnant binds her closer to him, Gee said.
Obstetricians and gynecologists can help women in these relationships by directing them to agencies and hotlines that help abused women, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), Gillispie said.
The findings are scheduled to be in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.