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Birth Control Sabotage as Domestic Violence: A Legal Response

Shane Trawick

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

April 20, 2012

100 Calif. L. Rev. 721 (2012)

This Comment responds to a series of recent studies linking domestic violence to birth control sabotage — a phenomenon where male partners destroy or manipulate contraceptive devices to force pregnancy, attempting to hold their female partners captive in a violent relationship. Birth control sabotage can take many forms, including the destruction of birth control, the piercing of condoms, or the forceful removal of contraceptive vaginal rings or intrauterine devices. Its existence begs two questions: what legal remedies are available to victims of birth control sabotage, and what policy steps should be taken to limit its occurrence? The absence of legal scholarship resolving these questions is glaring, and virtually no legal scholarship addresses the intersection of birth control sabotage and domestic violence. This Comment contends, first, that the recent studies linking birth control sabotage and domestic violence provide a sufficient justification for labeling sabotage as an intentional, fraudulent misrepresentation tort claim. Second, this Comment normatively argues that state legislatures ought to act quickly to criminalize birth control sabotage. As sabotage can now be understood as an act of violence in continuing domestic violence, criminalization and incarceration are crucial in preventing further abuse. While legal remedies for birth control sabotage have been severely limited in the past, creative attorneys and motivated legislators should address this important issue to improve the lives of survivors and their families.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: birth control, abortion, domestic violence, birth control sabotage, reproductive health, reproduction, pregnancy, violence, women, women's rights, feminism, contraceptive, reproductive coercion, injectable, vaginal ring, intrauterine device, IUD, condom, child support, wrongful conception, IPV

JEL Classification: I00, I10, K10, K13, K14, K19, K30, K39

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Date posted: April 20, 2012 ; Last revised: January 9, 2013

Suggested Citation

Trawick, Shane, Birth Control Sabotage as Domestic Violence: A Legal Response (April 20, 2012). 100 Calif. L. Rev. 721 (2012) . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2042852

Contact Information

Shane Trawick (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
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