Recognising and Responding to Reproductive Coercion

There is a clear link between domestic violence, reproductive coercion and unplanned pregnancy. Reproductive coercion is a recently emerged term but is used to describe interference with reproductive autonomy that denies a person’s decision-making and access to options. It typically takes three different forms:

  1. pregnancy coercion, where a person is forced or manipulated into becoming pregnant;
  2. birth-control sabotage, where a person is prevented from using contraception or her contraception is tampered with;
  3. control of pregnancy outcomes, where a person is forced to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

The health sector plays a critical role in screening for reproductive coercion and providing medical care and assistance to people affected. For many people presenting with unplanned pregnancy, a visit to a health practitioner is their first and only step towards accessing support and care; however, practitioners sometimes feel they don’t have the skills or knowledge to do this effectively. The resources in this section are intended to build the capacity and skills of practitioners to identify reproductive coercion and to support people affected in a sensitive manner.

(Sources: Children by Choice, and ‘How forced pregnancies and abortions deny women control over their own bodies’ by Laura Tarzia and Molly Wellington, University of Melbourne)


These three short videos are a series of training modules created by Children by Choice and intended for providers of medical abortion.

Children by Choice: Domestic Violence and Abortion Care Series (Video 1)

The intersection of domestic violence and unplanned pregnancy (6:56min). This video provides practitioners with an overview of the intersection between unplanned pregnancy and abortion, and domestic violence and reproductive coercion. It offers practical considerations for application to practice and leads on to two other videos exploring coerced pregnancy and coerced abortion.

Children by Choice: Domestic Violence and Abortion Care Series (Video 2)

Reproductive coercion and forced pregnancy (8:44min). This video explores coerced pregnancy as a perpetrator practice and provides concrete steps for practitioners in supporting women to gain reproductive autonomy through safe and appropriate contraceptive options.

Children by Choice: Domestic Violence and Abortion Care Series (Video 3)

Reproductive coercion and forced abortion (5:47min). This video offers an understanding of coerced abortion as a perpetrator practice, and provides practice tips for medical abortion providers in identifying and responding to possible coerced abortions.

Reproductive Coercion - Pamela Doherty, Children by Choice

Pamela Doherty from Children by Choice presented on reproductive coercion at the meeting of the Victorian Rural Clinical Network for Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion, held on 18 March 2019.

RACGP Clinical Guidelines on Abuse and Violence

These guidelines offer practitioners in general practice easy and evidence-based guidance on appropriate identification and response to patients experiencing abuse and violence

Children by Choice: Screening for Violence

An overview of potential screening questions that practitioners might use to identify violence a patient's life. The site also includes points to note and red flags for consideration when making decicions about further support

Children by Choice: Contraception for Women Living with Violence.

This resource provides information about situations in which a woman's contraceptive use has been compromised due to violence in her life. It includes factors that helps the practitioner assess which contraceptive option is the safest and most appropriate to use by the woman. Available to download as a PDF also.

Children by Choice: Other Resources

Children by Choice has a variety of printed resources available for organisations and services to support women's reproductive health choices. Available in both print and electronically, including translations in eight languages. While some of the resources are specific to Queensland, many of them are generic and can be used independent of location, such as the Reproductive Coercion brochure, the Reproductive Coercion and Contraception Resource, and the Waiting Room Posters.

AMA Manual: Supporting Patients Experiencing Family Violence

This AMA Manual is intended to assist medical practitioners to identify and support patients experiencing family violence, recognising their role in the early detection, intervention and treatment of patients.