When Britney Spears spoke in court this week via a remote link, giving her testimony in regards to a conservatorship which sees her father Jamie Spears and a team of professionals have control over her money, schedule and other aspects of her life, some shocking allegations emerged.
The 39-year-old singer claimed that her dad and the conservatorship team have such a hold over her life, they have refused to allow her to have her IUD removed. The intention? To prevent her from trying for a baby with her partner, Sam Asghari. "I have an IUD in my body right now that won’t let me have a baby and my conservators won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out," the court heard.
Women's abuse charity Refuge has since spoken out to raise concerns that, if this is the case, Britney Spears is experiencing reproductive coercion - which they say is an increasingly common form of abuse.
"Restricting a woman from having control over her body and her reproductive health is a form of abuse," Lisa King OBE, Refuge director of communications and external relations, told Cosmopolitan. "It’s important for women to know that they should never have to feel they have no control over their reproductive health and their sex lives," she added.
This form of abuse is complex, and while it may typically manifest in a relationship where there is domestic abuse, it's not at all limited to this. "Reproductive coercion can take many forms - from male partners refusing to wear condoms, to stealthing, to forcing women to have abortions, or making enforced contraceptive demands. It is unacceptable for any woman to be forced to continue with a contraceptive against their will. Women must have control over their own bodies and decisions," said Refuge's spokesperson, King.
Britney Spears herself has used the term 'abuse' in regards to her conservatorship. In court, she said: "I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. I don’t feel like I can live a full life." The singer has asked for the judge to end the conservatorship without her having to undergo a psychiatric examination.
In response to his daughter's testimony, a statement from Jamie Spears was read out by his lawyer in court: “He is sorry to hear his daughter in so much pain. Mr. Spears loves his daughter and misses her very much," it reportedly read.
"Every woman is entitled to make decisions relating to her sex life and for any woman out there who may be experiencing abuse – Refuge is here for you," the charity told Cosmopolitan.
If you're experiencing reproductive coercion or any other form of abuse, you can call Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for free, confidential support.
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