Reproductive Coercion and Abuse: Key Issues for Safeguarding in Abortion, Contraception and Maternity Care Settings

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


(from the Executive Summary): Reproductive coercion and abuse (RCA) occurs when power and control is exercised over the autonomous pregnancy decision-making of another. Interpersonal RCA occurs between individuals, when someone seeks to reduce another’s individual autonomy over reproductive decision-making through coercive or controlling behaviour, deception, manipulation, threats, violence, or other forms of abuse. This includes regulating everyday behaviour in relation to the prevention or promotion of pregnancy, and/or access to reproductive healthcare services.

RCA can also be institutionalised through laws, regulation, policy or practices when control is exerted on a non-clinical basis. Institutional RCA involves targeting groups or individuals to accept specific reproductive healthcare interventions, withholding them, or making access to other services dependant on their use.

This research aimed to investigate policy and practice in abortion, contraception, and maternity care across the UK, undertaking qualitative research with healthcare professionals and experts in interpersonal violence, and it focuses on the safeguarding needs of those at risk of pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAston University
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

This report is published open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY [], which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Acknowledgements: This project was funded by a British Academy Innovation Fellowship (IF\220042), the author would like to thank them for their support. Special thanks go to the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication at BPAS for hosting the author during the fellowship. This project would not have been possible without their encouragement and assistance. This project would not have been possible without the involvement of the health professionals and staff working in specialist services who agreed to be interviewed or attended the stakeholder workshops, and the author would also like to thank them for their involvement.


  • reproductive coercion
  • abortion
  • contraception
  • pregnancy
  • safeguarding


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