Surely the U.S. Supreme Court justices were unaware of the tsunami of issues that would come with the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision. Not only does the latest restriction on abortions impact at least 100,000 Americans, but it unfairly, indiscriminately, and disproportionately impacts the poor, people living in rural areas, and people of color—particularly those who are in threatening and violent partnerships.
As USA Today reports, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant people in the United States. “Women with unintended pregnancies are two to four times more likely to experience physical violence than women with planned pregnancies.”
Jacquelyn Campbell, a Johns Hopkins University nursing department chair, tells USA Today, “I can only imagine that this is going to get worse, that we’re going to have increasing numbers (of) women who are murdered by partners, either during pregnancy or immediately after pregnancy.”
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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, another form of violence called “reproductive coercion” happens when a partner tries to dominate a relationship by controlling pregnancy and personal reproductive choices. These include coercing “a partner to have unprotected sex,” “interfering with contraceptive methods,” and ”attempts to impregnate a partner against her [their] will.”
“Our entire country is basically experiencing state and federal control of reproductive coercion right now,” Kamila Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University professor of nursing, tells USA Today. Alexander added, “By taking that option [abortion] away, that elevates the risk of that woman getting killed based on whether the abuser wanted the pregnancy and/or escalating violence within the relationship … The time of pregnancy tends to be a real vulnerable time when acts of violence escalate.”
According to data from BMC Medicine, it is unclear if violence from a partner toward a pregnant person increases or decreases with abortion or carrying a pregnancy to term. But, as USA Today highlights, a Turnaway Study from the University of California, San Francisco, found women who were denied an abortion were “[m]ore likely to stay tethered to abusive partners.”
The statistics regarding people of color in violent and abusive relationships are staggering.USA Today reports that over 40% of Black women experience partner violence, at least one-third of Latin American women experience reproductive violence, and 4 out of 5 Indigenous women have experienced intimate violence in relationships.
“I can just envision all these women right now, right this minute, who are in abusive relationships, just being desperate about what to do about this pregnancy,” Campbell tells USA Today. “When you’re in an abusive relationship, it is very difficult for you to figure a way out of it. And having an unwanted baby is definitely not the way out of it. For most abused women, in fact, it just compounds the tragedy.”
This content was originally published here.