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With much still unknown about COVID-19 and pregnancy, health experts recommend pregnant women take precautions to avoid infection. (Freestocks.org) With much still unknown about COVID-19 and pregnancy, health experts recommend pregnant women take precautions to avoid infection. (Freestocks.org)

With much still unknown about COVID-19 and pregnancy, health experts recommend pregnant women take precautions to avoid infection. (Freestocks.org)

Madeline Heim
By Madeline Heim August 13, 2021

Yes, about 324,000 Americans per year experience domestic violence during pregnancy

If Your Time is short

  • The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a professional organization of physicians, wrote in a 2012 assessment on intimate partner violence that about 324,000 people in the U.S. experience abuse during pregnancy each year. 

  • This puts the congresswoman’s claim on track. 

  • Moore cited it while introducing legislation to fund research on the relationship between intimate partner violence and health.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, is part of a federal push to protect pregnant people from domestic violence. 

Moore introduced legislation Aug. 3, 2021 along with lawmakers from New Hampshire, Illinois and North Carolina that would fund research on the relationship between intimate partner violence and health.

The legislation comes after incidents of domestic violence increased last year amid social isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders

If passed, the bill would launch two studies. One, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would examine whether domestic violence victims are more at risk of maternal mortality or severe maternal morbidity. The other, from the National Academy of Medicine would look at whether domestic violence increases the risk of suicide, substance use and drug overdose among pregnant and post-partum people. 

It would also issue grants to nonprofits, health care providers and other groups working to improve health outcomes for survivors of intimate partner violence, and instruct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create guidance for health care providers to look for signs of abuse in patients. 

Moore, who is herself a survivor of domestic violence, has worked on other bills in Congress that sought to curb violence and give support to survivors. 

"324,000 pregnant people experience domestic violence during their pregnancy," she tweeted Aug. 3, 2021 about the latest piece of legislation, "which creates trauma that stays with survivors, impacting their physical and emotional health."

There’s no question that enduring violence creates trauma. But is the statistic in the first part of Moore’s claim correct? 

Let’s take a look at the source. 

Number is from professional association of OB-GYNs

When asked for evidence of the claim, Samara Sheff, communications director for Moore’s office, sent a backgrounder for the legislation which attributes the statistic to an article about abuse during pregnancy from the March of Dimes, a nonprofit that works to improve the health of moms and babies. 

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That article, which says that more than 320,000 women are abused by their partners during pregnancy each year, cites the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a professional association of doctors with those specialties. 

In a February 2012 assessment of intimate partner violence by the association’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, the organization wrote that about 324,000 pregnant people in the United States each year were abused during their pregnancy. 

Intimate partner violence has been associated with poor pregnancy weight gain, infection, anemia, tobacco use, stillbirth, pelvic fracture, placental abruption, fetal injury, preterm delivery and low birth weight, the assessment says, though it added that more research on the topic was needed. 

Pregnant and postpartum people are at nearly twice the risk of death by homicide than people who are not pregnant or postpartum, a 2016 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found. 

More than 3.5 million people give birth in the U.S. each year. 

Our ruling

Moore said that 324,000 pregnant people experience domestic violence during their pregnancy. 

That number is backed up by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

We rate her claim True.

 

 

 

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More by Madeline Heim

Yes, about 324,000 Americans per year experience domestic violence during pregnancy

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