Doctors taught to recognize partner, spouse abuse

(CBS News) According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one in five women has been raped. In more than half the cases, the rapist was an intimate partner.

On Tuesday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) put out new guidelines for doctors for dealing with both rape and sexual abuse.

The report details what's being called "birth control sabotage," or men interfering with contraception. For example: Poking holes in a condom or throwing away birth control pills.

In one study of women's clinics in northern California, birth control sabotage was reported by 15 percent of young women.

CBS "Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley talks with CBS medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook about what the new report says and how doctors can better help patients who are victims of birth control sabotage.

Scott Pelley: Is there any research on why a man would do that?

Dr. Jon LaPook: I spoke with a doctor today who is national expert on this subject, and she said it's all about power -- a man controlling a woman's body. Men who do this are more likely to be violent with women. One practical recommendation is if a doctor sees a women with an unintended pregnancy, ask about sexual violence, which is four times more likely in women with unintended pregnancies.

Pelley: What else is the ACOG suggesting?

LaPook: Give out a card that has very simple questions to increase awareness. For example: Does my partner mess with my birth control or try to get me pregnant when I don't want to be? Does my partner make me have sex when I don't want to? And Scott, this works. It significantly lowers the odds of a woman being pressured against her will to become pregnant.

Pelley: It sounds like doctors, like you, are being asked to be a lot more proactive with women on this topic.

LaPook: And not just picking up the signs when a woman comes in and has a history of violence -- also of educating women, of empowering them.

Click here to view the reproductive health safety card.

  • Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook

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