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Safeguarding for reproductive coercion and abuse
  1. Pam Lowe
  1. Sociology and Policy, Aston University, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Pam Lowe, Sociology and Policy Dept, Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK; P.K.Lowe{at}

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During the debates around whether or not telemedical abortion could continue in the UK permanently, concerns were raised that this would increase the risk of coerced abortions. These concerns, often promoted by anti-abortion organisations,1 2 help draw attention to two linked issues. First, there has long been awareness about some of the risks of reproductive coercion and abuse (RCA), but the issue in the UK has not been widely explored. Second, the continuing stigmatisation of abortion leads to differential understanding and regulatory control from other reproductive healthcare services, such as maternity care.

Currently, there is no singular definition of RCA in widespread use.3 It is used in relation to issues such as state or institutional policies, such as the forced sterilisation of marginalised people, as well as situations of intimate partner violence.4 Here we focus on the latter, and specifically are interested in situations where the perpetrator intentionally uses power and control to prevent, promote or control pregnancy in the victim.3 RCA operates through abuse, coercive control, threats, and violence. As well as RCA from partners, perpetrators can include other family members, who use power, control or force to influence reproductive decision-making.5 While RCA commonly occurs in the context of other forms of …

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  • Funding This study was supported by British Academy Innovation Fellowship (IF\220042).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.