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I know I’ve told this story before, but my abusive ex refused to let me take birth control. I was on the pill until he found them in my purse.
I went to the Student Health Center—they were completely unhelpful, choosing to lecture me about the importance of safe sex (recommending condoms) instead of actually listening to my problem.
Then I went to Planned Parenthood. The Nurse Practitioner took one look at my fading bruises and stopped the exam. She called in the doctor. The doctor came in and simply asked me: “Are you ready to leave him?” When I denied that I was being abused, she didn’t argue with me. She just asked me what I needed. I said I need a birth control method that my boyfriend couldn’t detect. She recommended a few options and we decided on Depo.
When I told her that my boyfriend read my emails and listened to my phone messages and was known to follow me, she suggested to do the Depo injections at off hours when the clinic was normally closed. She made a note in my chart and instructed the front desk never to leave messages for me—instead, she programmed her personal cell phone number into my phone under the name “Nora”. She told me she would call me to schedule my appointments; she wouldn’t leave a message, but I should call her back when I was able to.
And that was it. No judgment. No lecture. She walked me to the door and told me to call her day or night if I needed anything. That she lived 5 blocks from campus and would come get me. That I wasn’t alone. That she just wanted me to be safe.
I never called her to come to my rescue. But I have no doubt that she would have come if I had called. She kept me on Depo for a year, giving me those monthly injections in secret, helping me prevent a desperately unwanted pregnancy.
I cannot thank Planned Parenthood enough for the work they do."
gahmani replied to your post: I recently picked up the book “Unnatural Selection” by Mara Hvistendahl, and was wondering what your opinion was on sex-selective abortions & the subsequent gender imbalance? Some parents have even sought surgerical means to alter a biologically female baby into a male shortly after birth. What is an appropriate pro-choice response to this? As a related issue, do you think pro-choice advocates should be more vocal about things like forced abortions occurring in China due to the One-Child Policy?
“financial force” is most commonly known as “economic coercion” and it is a completely real. completely awful and completely common thing. We see economic coercion in pretty much all abusive situations that exist in the world.
That’s it, thank you! Yes, economic coercion in abusive relationships is extremely common. An abuser might take control of all the credit cards and bank accounts, cause their partner to lose their job or prevent them from getting one, and run up charges on their partners’ card, damaging their credit and making it harder for them to find shelter, transportation, loans, and cell phones. An abuser can also do this to any children in the relationship, and use the information to track the victim after they’ve left.
Economic and reproductive coercion are closely linked. An abuser may fear losing their partner, and try to trap them in the relationship by getting them pregnant. They will sabotage, hide, or prevent access to contraception. Poking holes in condoms or removing them during sex, flushing pills down the toilet, verbally abusing their partner, and and rape are common in abusive relationships. Abuse is all about power, and there are few times a person is more vulnerable than when they are pregnant. A partner who finds themselves pregnant with no means of financial independence will have a much harder time leaving.
Abuse during pregnancy is much more dangerous. Physical abuse is often added to verbal and emotional abuse during pregnancy. Sometimes, the abuse can become deadly. One study found that the risk of homicide in abusive relationships tripled during pregnancy and the CDC puts homicide as the third leading cause of death during pregnancy.
A person in an abusive relationship may not want to bring a baby into the environment. They might get an abortion or try to leave. This is a threat to the abuser’s power, and it is imperative the victim has privacy and safety during their decision. This is one reason waiting periods and parental consent laws are so dangerous. Instead of having to make arrangements for one day, a person in Utah will now have to cover their ass for three days, and somehow explain their absence to their abuser. Teenagers, who are at an extremely high risk for dating violence, lose their privacy to parental consent laws, increasing the chances that their abuser will find out.
A person experiencing economic and reproductive coercion is in desperate need of affordable, accessible contraception and birth control. This is why we need to keep family planning services funded, and why attacks on Planned Parenthood and Title X are so despicable. Planned Parenthood offers confidential services on a sliding scale. There are tamper-proof forms of birth control, such as IUDs, Implanon, Depo-Provera, NuvaRing, and sterilization. These are long-lasting (or permanent) and require few visits to the clinic or doctor’s office, but they are expensive.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there are ways to protect yourself against financial and reproductive coercion, and ways to help yourself afterwards.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-787-3224 (TTY) (for those who are deaf or hard of hearing)
RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
National Runaway Switchboard
How to Stop Domestic Financial Abuse
Do you have any posts addressing 'teh poor menz' side of abortion? (By men I do mean cismen who are pissy because their partner didn't get their permission before getting an abortion). Thanks.
For partners and loved ones, there are the two hotlines I always recommend, Backline and Exhale, as well as Men and Abortion, which offers information on how to support their partner and work through their own emotions that come with the decision. It’s good for any loved one, not just a cismale partner, although it does use cis- and heteronormative language.
I just read this absolutely hilarious quote in my social work textbook. What a tragedy for men! Us women have to FULLY agree to spawning their little devils.
It’s actually legitimately terrifying that this is being framed as a negative, as if anyone with a uterus is really only a vessel for someone else’s seed, and not an individual person.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, America’s largest anti-sexual violence network. Website includes a Sexual Assault phone and online hotline, find a local counseling center, how to help a loved one, information to educate yourself and a list of international resources
Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project, provides crisis intervention, support and resources to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Includes a hotline and a list of events
Help Guide, find any kind of helpful organization including domestic abuse. Includes a help guide, hotlines, and where to find a safe place to stay.
Kids Help, an organization that focuses on helping children and teens in Canada. Includes a phone and online hotline, helps set kids and teens up with a resource in their area.
Youth Homelessness and Runaway Prevention, to help keep runaway and at risk children off the streets and safe. Provides support and solutions to keep kids safe.
The National Herpes Hotline provides information and referrals to help treat and live with herpes.
A list of National hotlines for STDS and/or substance abuse
Hopeline, run by the Kristin Brooks Hope Center, A hotline that helps you deal with feelings of depression or the thought of suicide. Amazing organization to give you hope.
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