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Scary Sex: More Men "Tricking" Women into Pregnancy

Update Date: Jun 04, 2013 04:27 PM EDT

An alarming new study reveals that an increasing number of men are "tricking" women into pregnancy by poking holes in condoms and stealing birth control pills.

Researchers at Brown University are calling the new scary phenomenon "reproductive coercion," which previous studies found generally affects unmarried, sexually active women in abusive relationships. However, new research reveals that it's not just young women in abusive relationships who are at risk of "reproductive coercion". 

Lead researcher Dr Lindsay Clark and her team surveyed 641 ob-gyn patients between the ages of 18 and 41 and found that 16 percent of women have experienced partners sabotaging their birth control by poking holes in condoms or hiding birth control pills.

The study found that among those women, about a third also suffered domestic abuse.

"I was very interested in looking at the question of why our patients get pregnant after we have performed contraception counseling," Clark said, according to the Daily Mail.

The latest findings revealed that the sick phenomenon isn't just affecting low-income women or those in abusive relationships. The study looked at a general population of patients, and found that pregnancy coercion happened at a similar rate regardless of socioeconomic and educational background.

"What is striking is that reproductive coercion affected women of all socioeconomic levels and educational backgrounds," Clark said. "[It] doesn't just affect poor and uneducated women."

Experts say that there are a variety of reasons why men sabotage a woman's birth control

"Some have an intense desire for a nuclear family, and many who had experiences of a dysfunctional family home want something better," Dr Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, told The New York Times.

"[Some young men], want to leave a legacy . . .Gang-affiliated young men want the status that comes with having babies from multiple women," Miller added.

What's most worrying is that the latest findings suggest that more and more women are being tricked into pregnancy.

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 4.8 percent of women's partners engaged in "reproductive coercion".  However, the new study found that the number of women exposed to this kind of abuse has more than tripled in three years.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that doctors routinely screen women during visits and ask women questions like, "Does your partner support your decision about when or if you want to become pregnant?"

The ACOG also recommends that doctors provide "concealed" contraceptive methods like giving contraceptive pills in plain envelopes or using cooper Intrauterine Devices (IUD) with the strings trimmed to prevent detection.

"Having a woman say, 'My partner's not hurting me or hitting me' doesn't mean he's not trying to get her pregnant against her will," Rebecca Levenson of Futures Without Violence, an organization that educates doctors about the unique form of abuse, told the New York Daily News.

"We've had people say, 'He pulled my IUD out, or he took my money so I can't buy birth control,' everything you can imagine," she said, adding that she has also seen patients who say their partners lied about using condoms or popped out all the active pills in their birth control packets.

"It's a real part of people's stories," she said. 

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