When pregnancies are wanted by one partner but not the other, women are usually cast as the culpable party. In keeping with the gender training of romantic comedies and other harmless fluff, women in semi-tenuous relationships are seen as desperate to keep their man, any man, just so they won't be an old spinster. They will do anything to keep a man - even get pregnant accidentally on purpose. The woman who gets pregnant to keep a man is a sexist relationship boogeyman - I've never known or heard of any woman who would put their body through the serious hardship of pregnancy just to keep some loser who doesn't want to be with her.
This sexual scare tactic may be covering up something even grimmer and more malicious than just the construction of women as desperate harridans. Lynn Harris has posted a deeply thought-provoking article over at AlterNet on forced pregnancy as partner abuse:
But many violence and public-health experts agree that at least one major issue was, and has for too long remained, missing from that conversation. For girls like Janey, as you can see, partner violence doesn't show up in police photos as swollen bruises. Instead, the evidence might be their swollen, pregnant bellies.
Sexual coercion and "reproductive control," including contraceptive sabotage, are a common, and devastating, facet of dating and domestic abuse. A growing number of studies, experts and young women themselves are testifying to boyfriends demanding unprotected sex, lying about "pulling out," hiding or destroying birth control -- flushing pills down the toilet, say -- and preventing (or, in some cases, forcing) abortion.
The implications for young women's and public health are profound, among them unintended pregnancy, miscarriage and STDs, including HIV.
Go over. Read it.
H/T to Cara of The Curvature