The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) denounces the United States Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) refusal to block the unprecedented restrictions on abortion after S.B.8 was allowed to take effect in the state of Texas on September 1st, 2021. NCADV also applauds President Biden for his swift response in calling for a launch of a “whole-of-government effort” to ensure pregnant people in Texas keep their constitutional right to abortion, including Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to sue the state of Texas over the law.
“Once again, the most vulnerable group of women, survivors of domestic violence, will be put at risk,” noted Ruth M. Glenn, NCADV President/CEO. “Not only as a health matter, but the coercion and system barriers emboldened by this ruling will create additional barriers for those trying to escape the violence and tactics used by abusers that keep them trapped. Texas has demonstrated that SCOTUS has sided with those who cause harm to women. By putting a hold on the implementation of this ban while the judicial review process played out, SCOTUS would have empowered those who may be experiencing reproductive coercion and or other such tactics that caused them harm.”
Access to abortion and reproductive freedom goes to the heart of a complicated intersection, reproductive coercion, which exists within patterns of power and control in intimate partner violence. Reproductive coercion is the behavior used to pressure or coerce someone who can get pregnant into becoming pregnant, continuing a pregnancy, or ending a pregnancy against their will, through the use of manipulation, intimidation, threats, and/or actual acts of violence. When an abuser is already willing to interfere with a victim’s reproductive autonomy, it doesn’t take a leap of the imagination to envision situations where they would use the new law in Texas to not only force victims to continue their pregnancy but use threats of it to keep a victim under the abuser’s control. While exact statistics on this intersection are unavailable, a quick glance at relevant statistics hint at the prevalence:
Part of NCADV’s mission is to “demand a change of conditions” which allow domestic violence to continue to flourish. These conditions include (but are not limited to) sexism, patriarchy, privilege, racism, and classism. S.B.8 strikes directly at the heart of these conditions; by denying women bodily and reproductive autonomy and rewarding those who interfere with her ability to exist and live freely, the state of Texas is controlling what the people of Texas who can become pregnant can and cannot do, much like perpetrators of domestic violence. Moreover, it is deputizing private citizens - including abusers themselves - to police women’s reproductive choices.