“Combating intimate partner violence is a matter of basic rights and safety for women.”
– Cecile Richards
New York, NY – In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), Planned Parenthood Federation of America is raising awareness about the devastating impact of domestic and intimate partner violence — both on women’s safety and women’s health.
According to a new study released this week, enacting abortion restrictions could subject some women to sustained contact with violent partners. The study found that physical intimate partner violence by the man involved in the pregnancy stayed consistent for women who were turned away when seeking an abortion and carried their pregnancies to term. Whereas physical intimate partner violence went down among women who were able to have an abortion, which is consistent with the idea that women are less likely to leave abusive relationships if they have children.
“As we continue to fight for a woman’s right to access a safe and legal abortion in this country, this study reminds us how crucial that right is to not only women’s health but also women’s safety,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “At Planned Parenthood, we see firsthand the horrific impact that intimate partner violence and restrictions to abortion access can have on women’s health and lives — and we work every day to combat them both.”
It is important to note reproductive coercion is a form of intimate partner violence, which can include being forced into carrying a pregnancy to term, or being forced to have an abortion. Approximately 20 percent of women with a history of abuse who seek care with family planning providers like Planned Parenthood also experience pregnancy coercion and 15 percent of these women reported birth control sabotage.
As a result of the devastating physical, psychological, emotional, and economic impact of intimate partner violence, survivors are robbed of their ability to access equal opportunities and rights, their health, and in extreme cases even their lives.
“At Planned Parenthood we provide screenings for intimate partner violence at every one of our approximately 700 health centers in a safe and confidential setting and we also advocate to support safe and legal abortion, access to birth control, and other basic health care,” said Richards. “In doing so, we are working to help ensure that women are able to lead full and healthy lives, free from discrimination and violence — that includes intimate partner violence.”
Planned Parenthood also recognizes that education is critical in teaching people to recognize the signs of intimate partner violence and learn how to leave and help those they love leave abusive relationships safely. Education can also help prevent abuse by teaching young people healthy relationship skills. These important issues are one reason why Planned Parenthood works in communities across the country to reach more than 1.5 million people each year through our education and outreach.
If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, in addition to your local Planned Parenthood health center, you can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline for trusted, anonymous online and phone advice. If you want to end an abusive relationship, they can also help you develop a safety plan. If you are a teen and you’re not sure if what you are experiencing is intimate partner violence, you can reach out to Loveisrespect.org. They have online chat programs where you can speak with a counselor safely and anonymously.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
October 01, 2014