Pregnant women are 16 percent more likely to die by homicide. What happens after Roe?

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June 29, 2022

Legal Momentum Senior Vice President and Director of the National Judicial Education Program (NJEP), Lynn Hecht Schafran, was interviewed for a story in MEL magazine about the increased risk pregnant people face for abuse and death at the hands of their partners, and what this will look like in a post-Roe landscape.


"Even just carrying a fetus raises the risk of victimization, as the study found that women who are pregnant, or who ended a pregnancy in the past year, are killed at a rate 16 percent higher than non-pregnant women. And many times, they’re killed by their partner. “A lot of this violence and physical abuse begins with pregnancy,” says Lynn Hecht Schafran, senior vice president of the nonprofit Legal Momentum and a noted expert on gender bias and domestic violence. “It comes down to men finding a mechanism of control, forcing a woman to do what they want and treating the child as the hostage to maintain that control.”"

“We see it in teen dating violence, with the notion that, ‘Hey, if I make you pregnant, you’ll never leave me. I’ll have control of you forever,’ Schafran says. “Whether it’s forcing someone to become pregnant, or forcing someone to have an abortion, it’s all tied to the idea that a woman’s reproductive capacity is a mechanism of control for the man.”