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Nikki Reed & Ian Somerhalder Apologize for Joking About Reproductive Coercion

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

Ian Somerhalder flushing Nikki Reed's birth control is still bad, but at least now they're apologizing

Updated Sept. 25, 2017,11:00 a.m. ET: On Saturday, Nikki Reed tweeted out a note apologizing for how they handled sharing the information about the circumstances surrounding how she got pregnant, saying, “To anyone who has been affected by reproductive coercion, we are deeply sorry." She went on to write that "if this somehow sheds light on a topic that definitely needs mainstream attention, then we are grateful for the unintended consequence."

Original story: 

When it comes to a couple deciding if and when to have a child, it’s best to have both parties on board. Sounds obvious, right? And if one member of the couple takes control of the situation without telling the other, it’s highly inappropriate on so many levels, right? Yes, absolutely.

But apparently, Ian Somerhalder didn’t get that memo about basic autonomy and decided to take wife Nikki Reed’s fertility into his own hands.

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In an interview with Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast, Reed revealed — while laughing — that her husband went into her purse without her consent and “threw out all [her] birth control pills” during a 2016 trip to Spain, as if it were something romantic and adorable. Except it’s not.

According to Somerhalder, they both had decided that they wanted to have kids, but he decided that “it was just time” and without checking in with Reed to see if she felt the same way, took it upon himself to dispose of her birth control pills.

"By the way, it was the beginning of the pack, so I had to pop all those suckers out. There was like 25 of them,” he said, as if he was angling to get some sort of medal for all the hard work it took to push small pills through foil in order to deceive his wife.

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But that’s not all! The co-host of the podcast then asked Reed how she felt about it, and as soon as she started to speak, Somerhalder immediately started talking over her to say that he has a six-minute video of her "freaking out" as he flushed the pills down the toilet. Wait, what? You have actual proof of her less-than-pleased reaction to this, and you’re still trying to pass this off as something sweet?

He then elaborated in case you weren’t sure how to feel about the whole thing: “What’s so cool is that there’s this video of me with this handful of these little pills and she’s just [mimics panting and panicking]…panting.”

Panting, guys! Sounds as if she was really enthusiastic about having the chance to make choices regarding her own body taken away from her.

"Actually, now thinking about it, I guess I kind of decided [to start a family]," he added, clearly delighted with himself for taking away his partner’s agency.

Let's get a few things clear: Just because someone says that they want to have children at some stage doesn’t mean they’re OK with this happening at any time. Being able to control if, when and how we become pregnant has been a struggle for women for way too long for some vampire actor to step in and make it seem acceptable in any way to tamper with someone’s birth control.

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