Experiences of Reproductive Coercion Among Latina Women and Strategies for Minimizing Harm: “The Path Makes Us Strong”

Karen Trister Grace, Kamila A. Alexander, Noelene K. Jeffers, Elizabeth Miller, Michele R. Decker, Jacquelyn Campbell, Nancy Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Latina women disproportionately report experiencing reproductive coercion (RC), a set of behaviors that interfere with autonomous reproductive decision making. Given RC's associations with intimate partner violence (IPV) and unintended pregnancy, it is critical to identify and address RC to assist women to achieve safety, autonomy, and reproductive life plans. The purpose of this study was to describe and understand the context of RC and the use of RC safety strategies among Latina women receiving services at an urban clinic, through listening to the experiences of the women in their own words. Methods: Qualitative descriptive methodology was used. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 13 Latina women recruited from a Federally Qualified Health Center in the Washington, DC, area. Results: Data were organized into 3 a priori categories: (1) RC behaviors, (2) co-occurrence of RC and IPV, and (3) RC harm reduction strategies. New RC behaviors emerged, and immigration status was used as a method of coercive control. From these a priori categories emerged 4 themes: impact of immigrant and citizenship status, machismo, strength and bravery, and importance of family. Harm reduction strategies included less detectable contraception; some sought community services, but others resorted to deception and stalling as the only tools available to them. Discussion: Less detectable methods of contraception remained useful harm reduction strategies for women experiencing RC. Midwives should inquire about method fit and be mindful of honoring the request when patients ask to change methods. Women's strength and resilience emerged as a vital source of power and endurance. This diverse sample and the powerful voices of the women who participated make a significant contribution to the understanding of RC experienced by Latina women in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-256
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Volume65
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • Hispanic Americans
  • coercion
  • ethnic groups
  • intimate partner violence
  • pregnancy
  • qualitative research
  • reproductive health
  • unplanned

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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