How can I improve the health of women in my program?
Is offering Emergency Contraception (EC) part of your safety planning?
We hope so. What you do can make the difference.
Many women who come to your programs have experienced situations putting them at risk for unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. There is a safe medication that they can take called emergency contraception (some call it the morning after pill) up to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception is available at the pharmacy and local clinics without a prescription if you are 17 or older, and it is taken in pill form—though it can be expensive. Many family planning clinics have this medication available for free or on a sliding scale. Some domestic violence programs have opted to have EC available to women who need it on site, others have public health nurses who are able to obtain it for them, and still others partner with family planning programs to ensure access to EC.
EC can help prevent a forced unwanted pregnancy by an abusive partner
- To better understand if a client may need or want this: use this sample intake form to assess her need.
- Give all women at risk of reproductive coercion this evidenced based Futures safety card to educate them about harm reduction strategies: view card in English, view card in Spanish.
What is Reproductive Coercion (RC)?
RC is a desire to control women’s reproductive health through birth control sabotage, pregnancy pressure and coercion.
It’s basically trying to get her pregnant when she does not want to be, so she stays connected to her abusive partner—or an abusive partner trying to control the outcome of pregnancy against what the victim thinks is best for herself.
Give all women at risk of reproductive coercion this evidenced based Futures safety card to educate them about harm reduction strategies and ways to prevent pregnancy with an abusive partner: view card in English, view card in Spanish.
For more information on this topic:
Can other health services be offered at your program?
Some DV programs currently offer other onsite health care services for mothers and children. For example, in the state of Virginia— some shelters are offering medical care, and screening for reproductive health concerns on site in shelter. They are also creating more formal partnerships with local health care agencies. See links below for sample tools: