MSI UK Safeguarding Lead featured in BBC Radio 4 documentary on reproductive coercion
To mark International Women’s Day, MSI’s Winnie Porter (Safeguarding Lead and Clinical Team Leader) and Angela Jones (Clinical Services Matron) were interviewed for a BBC Radio 4 documentary about reproductive coercion.
“It’s only through discussion and really questioning what’s going on in that woman’s life that you start to understand that this very specific type of control is happening.”
In a powerful, 40-minute radio documentary on reproductive coercion, MSI UK’s Winnie Porter and Angela Jones were interviewed by BBC Radio 4 about the support our staff provide to women and pregnant people experiencing this form of abuse.
Alongside real-life examples from people who have experienced reproductive coercion, the documentary follows a day-in-the-life of Winnie, Safeguarding Lead and Clinical Team Leader at MSI UK.
“I hear this a lot, and I hear the same things – the same techniques that people are using to try and coerce women into having abortions, into not having abortions, or into using contraception that they don’t want.
It’s so subtle and so insidious, it almost doesn’t appear – it’s only through discussion and really questioning what’s going on in that woman’s life that you start to understand that this very specific type of control is happening.
My job is making decisions about what we do, and ensuring that right now, the client is ok and safe.”
What is reproductive coercion?
Reproductive coercion is an instance when a person doesn’t have control over their own reproductive health, and is not able to make their own choices.
Reproductive coercion can take many forms. It can involve ‘sabotaging’ or lying about contraception, coercing somebody in or out of a pregnancy, or forcing either the termination of or the continuation of a pregnancy. It is more common to be pressured out of an abortion than into one; both are examples of reproductive coercion.
Above all, signs of reproductive coercion are grounded in someone taking power over, and control of, your reproductive choices.
Research published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Sexual and Reproductive Health in 2019 found that one in four women accessing a sexual health clinic have experienced some form of reproductive coercion.
The study found that many of those who had experienced reproductive coercion did not recognise those behaviours as such. According to YouGov research commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition in 2018, 40% of people think “it is never or usually not rape to remove a condom without a partner’s consent.”
To learn more about reproductive coercion, read our blog from Louise McCudden – Advocacy and Public Affairs Advisor at MSI Reproductive Choices UK: Gender-based violence cannot be tackled without reproductive rights
BBC Radio 4: Controlling My Birth Control
To listen to the full 40-minute documentary on BBC Radio 4, click on this link: BBC Radio 4: Controlling My Birth Control
To read more about the documentary, click on this link: ‘Reproductive coercion: ‘I wasn’t allowed to take my pill’
The decision about whether to continue or end the pregnancy is yours to make. This might not be the same decision your partner, friends or family would make. If you feel that you’re being pressured into having an abortion, please let us know. We will not provide treatment unless you are certain of your decision.
You might feel unable to talk to those closest to you, or worry that you won’t get impartial support from them. This is where counselling can really help. MSI UK counsellors are highly trained and qualified, they offer caring, non-judgemental support. If you’d like to arrange counselling or to talk to one of our advisors, you can call us anytime on 0345 300 8090.
There are a number of ways to get in touch with MSI Reproductive Choices:
You can call the advice line at the following numbers:
✔️ England, Scotland and Wales: 0345 300 8090
✔️ Northern Ireland: 0333 234 2184
✔️ International: +44 (0) 1454 457 542
Or, if you are not ready to make a call, you can choose to live chat with an advisor. The chat is available Monday-Friday 8AM – 8PM, and Saturday-Sunday 8AM-4PM, on this website.