Domestic Violence during Pregnancy
Pregnancy and Domestic Violence Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Seek Professional Advice on How to Keep Yourself and Baby Safe Sea Girt, Wall, Pt Pleasant, Brick, Toms River and across Monmouth and Ocean County
Pregnancy can be a time of much excitement and wonder. Many changes are happening in the body and emotional experience, and feeling your baby growing inside can transform your relationship with life. However, if the pregnancy was unwanted or unplanned, the experience accompanying it can bring feelings of fear, doubt, anger, and exasperation.
This is especially true if you are in a relationship in which your partner is abusive in any way. Fear for your health and that of your baby can result in a desire to escape the relationship or even abort the child for the best interests of you both. In addition to the additional support any mother needs during pregnancy – which includes physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial support – it is important for a pregnant woman who is being abused by her partner to seek and receive additional support to ensure that she and her child stay safe throughout the process of pregnancy, birth, and post-birth.
Domestic abuse during pregnancy can occur whether or not there is a history of abuse in the relationship.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination makes it illegal to discriminate based on pregnancy. However, this doesn’t apply so obviously in the home, and pregnancy can upend even in a previously docile relationship. Domestic violence doesn’t always take the form of physical harm, as evidenced by the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991. There are many forms of domestic abuse, including psychological and emotional abuse, and many of these forms are amplified during pregnancy.
Why? Domestic violence occurs when one partner wants to exert power over the other. As such, a partner, whether or not they have a history of domestic violence, often undergoes the startling experience of having their power and centricity stripped as the pregnant woman transitions her attention more to her growing child and her own wellbeing. To some, this loss of control threatens their strength, and they resort to emotionally or physically abusive means of regaining an energetic stronghold in the home. In this case, the power they seek to have is being the center of attention, and as such, they may feel jealous of the child for being the new center of the relationship. Others may not like the physical and emotional changes that are happening to the pregnant woman and may turn to abuse to ‘punish’ a woman for these changes.
A partner may also be grappling with the stress of reflecting on the changes that will occur with the child’s birth and the additional necessity for resources, financial and otherwise, which they may not feel prepared to offer. Keeping an awareness of the transitional stress a partner may be feeling does not excuse their violent actions or pardon any physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. It is simply a helpful thing to keep in mind.
Whether abuse during pregnancy is emotional or physical, it places a pregnant woman at heightened risk for miscarriage, pre-term birth, and complications during pregnancy and labor.
How Pregnant Women are Supported Under the Affordable Care Act
A 2012 study by the National Women’s Law Center found that nearly 1 in every 5 women in New Jersey was uninsured. Additionally, pregnant women were more likely to be denied coverage during pregnancy because it is a “preexisting condition.” Those pregnant women who had the coverage paid more for the same coverage than men because 80 percent of New Jersey plans to practice “gender rating” (National Women’s Law Center).
The Affordable Care Act has changed some of that. Beginning in 2014, under the ACA, plans could not deny coverage to adults with preexisting conditions, including pregnancy and having had a prior c-section, among others. Additionally, as of 2014, insurance companies were required to charge women – and small employers with a largely female staff – the same for coverage as their male counterparts, reversing the practice of gender rating.
Particularly important for pregnant women, the ACA determines that all health plans (unless grandfathered) must cover preventive care services, including screening and counseling for domestic violence. A doctor’s office for prenatal care is a safe place to discuss your home situation with your healthcare provider. It can lead to domestic violence and prenatal care resources additional to those you already have.
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 outlines the definition of domestic violence in New Jersey and the specific actions that can be taken to file a restraining order and bring domestic violence charges against an abusive spouse.
Contact a Domestic Violence Hotline for Support
There is always support for you to help you navigate and exit an abusive relationship. Contact the following hotlines for support:
New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233)
United States National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1-800-799-7233
Pregnant and Experiencing Domestic Violence? Call our Sea Girt or Brick offices Today. Let us help protect you and your family.
At Bronzino Law Firm, our skilled team of attorneys serves clients across Wall, Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Pt Pleasant, Asbury Park, and across Monmouth and Ocean County in all matters of domestic abuse.
Contact a member of our firm today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your unsafe living condition, fill out our online form, or through either our Brick, NJ office or our Sea Girt, NJ office 732-812-3102; we look forward to representing your legal rights.