Reproductive coercion


I always felt that what was happening to me was wrong…Sasha, NSW

Everyone has a right to control their reproductive health choices. But for some people this is sadly not a reality.

Reproductive Coercion is a vast, yet hidden problem in Australia.

What is Reproductive Coercion?

Reproductive Coercion is behaviour that interferes with the autonomy of a person to make decisions about their reproductive health.  It includes any behaviour that has the intention of controlling or constraining another person’s reproductive health decision-making.

Examples include:

  • Contraceptive sabotage including ‘stealthing’
  • Pressuring another person into pregnancy
  • Forcing another person to have an abortion or continue a pregnancy
  • Forcing a person into sterilisation.

What Drives Reproductive Coercion?

Reproductive Coercion can occur on an interpersonal level within intimate partnerships or within families. It can also occur on a structural level where social, political, economic or cultural aspects can prevent people from making decisions about their reproductive health.

How Can We Address Reproductive Coercion?

Marie Stopes Australia has coordinated a White Paper on Reproductive Coercion to draw attention to this issue.

Hidden Forces, is a White Paper that contains the definition of Reproductive Coercion. It brings together existing research and data on Reproductive Coercion from Australia and internationally. It highlights the links between Reproductive Coercion and Family Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence.

The White Paper also contains recommendations on how to address Reproductive Coercion.

How Was The White Paper Developed?

The White Paper has been developed after extensive consultation across the health, academic, legal, media and political sectors.

Over two consultation stages spanning 2017 and 2018, 84 submissions were received from individuals and organisations across Australia.

Marie Stopes Australia would like to thank all of those who contributed to the White Paper.

We would like to acknowledge the brave people who came forward and told their stories as part of the White Paper.

Draft White Paper

In May 2018, Marie Stopes released the draft White Paper for comment.

Download Hidden Forces: Shining a Light on Reproductive Coercion White Paper

Download Hidden Forces