Reproductive coercion - an insidious form of domestic violence - could be reduced if abortion is decriminalised according to Illawarra women's health advocates.
The Illawarra Women's Health Centre supports the abortion bill currently before NSW parliament, which will give women the legal right to make decisions about their own bodies.
The centre's domestic and family violence manager, Grace Jennings, said the passing of the bill would make reproductive health care and pregnancy choices safer and more accessible for all women - especially those at risk.
She said the two most dangerous times for a woman in an abusive relationship was when they left a relationship, and when they were pregnant.
Research showed that women who were subjected to violence had higher levels of unplanned pregnancy. Meantime those with unintended pregnancies were four times more likely to experience physical violence from a partner.
"My role as domestic and family violence manager is to make sure women can leave a violent relationship, or if they stay to make sure they do so in the safest way possible," Ms Jennings said.
"Pregnancy, whether intended or unintended, puts these women at greater risk. That includes increased risk of physical violence, as well as being inextricably linked to the perpetrator if they have a child.
"That's why it's so important for women to have full access to health care services - including abortions - to reduce the risk of violence and control."
Sabotaging contraception, insisting on unprotected sex or pressuring a woman to continue - or end - a pregnancy are some of the signs of reproductive coercion.
It's an issue which Shellharbour MP Anna Watson highlighted when speaking in support of the bill in parliament last month. Ms Watson said one in four domestic and family violence victims reported coercion over their reproductive lives.
"Pregnancy can be used as a tool of control and a sign to the violent perpetrator that they have power over their partner's body," she said.
"... Reproductive coercion is an easy, effective and cowardly way of manipulating and controlling a woman by limiting her autonomy over her fertility, reproductive health and choices."
The proposed legislation would excise abortion from the state's 119-year-old criminal code and create a standalone healthcare act to regulate the procedure.
It will allow for abortion on request for women up to 22 weeks' gestation performed by a registered doctor. Women beyond 22 weeks would need the consent of two doctors.
It passed the lower house in August, and politicians are now in the midst of debating more than 30 amendments to the bill in the upper house.
The Warilla-based centre receives around 10 to 15 inquiries about terminations each week.
"For a long time what happens to women's bodies has been dictated by politics," Ms Jennings said.
"Many mainstream services haven't properly and adequately provided women's health care services which is why women's health centres exist.
"We are one of the few services in the Illawarra that does provide a termination service as part of a wrap-around service including counselling so women are fully supported."
Ms Jennings said the centre's staff had a thorough understanding of domestic violence - and the ways perpetrators could track their partners and control their movements and actions.
"Everything we do is strictly confidential," she said, "and when we contact clients we are very discreet about the conversations we have, or the messages we leave, to ensure their safety."