271012 Incidents of non-armed conflict forced pregnancy among women of African descent: Case studies in South Africa, Jamaica, and the United States

Monday, October 29, 2012

Anya Bazzell, MPH , Clinical Research Center, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Forced pregnancy is defined by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a crime that is committed when captors forcefully impregnate women and hold them hostage until they cannot safely abort the unborn child. Because of this definition's underlying emphasis on widespread attack, ethnic cleansing, and military control, this crime is most often associated with armed military conflict. However, this act of injustice may also have implications for the reproductive health of women, particularly women of African descent, who are not involved in armed conflict; resulting from rape/sexual coercion and lack of contraception control—both of which also facilitate armed conflict forced pregnancy. In order to demonstrate that forced pregnancy can indeed take place outside of armed conflict, this study used a cross-sectional correlational approach to examine the relationship between rape/sexual coercion, lack of contraception control, and pregnancy wantedness among women of African descent in South Africa, Jamaica, and the United States. Results conveyed that rape/sexual coercion and lack of contraception control increase the risk for unwanted pregnancy; indicating that armed and non-armed conflict forced pregnancy occur within a different context, but have the same facilitating factors and the same outcome—unwanted pregnancy that results from force. This exploratory study shows that non-armed conflict forced pregnancy is a global health issue that warrants further research in order to determine more causal associations between non-armed conflict forced pregnancy and its facilitating factors such that the health-related needs of affected women and children can be addressed in an evidence-based and systematic way.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. By the end of the session, participants will be able to identify the similarities between the facilitating factors of armed conflict and non-armed conflict forced pregnancy. 2. By the end of the session, participants will be able to discuss forced pregnancy as a reproductive health issue that can result from non-armed conflict rape/sexual coercion and lack of contraception control.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Master of Public Health student who conducted this research study under the supervision of faculty members whoes areas of focus center on Reproductive Health. This research has been submitted in fulfillment of a thesis requirement for the obtainment of a Master of Public Health degree.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.