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Challenging 'Abortion Taboo' Could Help DV Victims

Lydia Mainey

The stigma surrounding abortion is actually hampering the health and safety of women facing domestic violence.

That’s according to CQUniversity Cairns researcher Lydia Mainey, who says that one in four Australian women will have an abortion in their lifetime and many are seeking abortions because they are in violent relationships.

“We are creating problems by reinforcing taboos. Stigmatising people is dangerous. It puts people in very vulnerable positions and affects their physical and mental health,” Ms Mainey says.

“You’re probably wondering what the link is between domestic violence and abortion. Well it’s complex.

“Firstly, violence escalates during pregnancy, so the woman may choose an abortion to protect herself and her children.

“Or a woman may realise that she is pregnant to a violent partner and chooses to have an abortion to cut all ties with him.

“Some women are affected by reproductive coercion, where their contraception is sabotaged. I’ve known women in the line of my work to have their implanons and intrauterine devices removed by their partners.

“And some women may be pressured into having an abortion. Did this surprise any of you to know this? It surprises a lot of people including healthcare professionals.”

Ms Mainey’s doctoral research looks at how nurses support these women.

She presented her research on Nursing and Domestic Violence at the International Pint of Science Festival, on Wednesday evening at the Salt House in Cairns.

Her talk also coincided with Family and Domestic Violence Prevention month.

Pint of Science is a public event, sponsored by the CSIRO & Newstead Brewing Co. If you want to listen to Lydia or other Pint of Science talks, details can be found via: https://pintofscience.com.au/partners/