Abortion knowledge and experiences among young women and men in Accra, Ghana.
ABSTRACT: Background: Despite the presence of legal abortion services in Ghana, unsafe abortion remains common, particularly among young women. Little is understood about what young people know about safe and legal abortion, and if and how they are utilizing it. Methods: To characterize abortion use and address gaps in safe access, from September-December 2013, we conducted a cross-sectional survey with 100 men and 250 women aged 18-24 in Accra, Ghana. Participants were asked about abortion experiences, including prior services, providers, methods, satisfaction, perceived support, and knowledge of laws. Descriptive statistics, Fisher's exact tests, and chi-square tests were performed. Results: Among surveyed youth, most (87% of women, 64% of men) thought abortion was illegal or did not know the law. In total, 30% of women and 14% of men ever had an abortion and partner who had an abortion, respectively. Among women's most recent abortions, medication abortion (61%), surgical methods (26%), and unsafe methods categorized "least safe" (14%) were the initial or only methods used. Most women who accessed medication abortion initially or as their only method saw a pharmacist (40%) or no one (33%). Nearly one-quarter of women (n=16, 24%) who initially took tablets used more than one method. Conclusions: Despite experiences with abortion, most young people in this study were unaware of its legality and unsafe abortions occurred. More needs to be done to ensure young people understand the law and have access to safe methods, and that pharmacists are trained to provide appropriate doses and formulations of medication abortion.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Despite the existence of an abortion law and a safe abortion policy in Ghana, the Ghana Statistical Service found that 15% of all women in the reproductive age group (15-49?years) have practiced unsafe abortions. The objective of this study was to explore factors that contribute to the high incidence of unsafe abortion practices in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.<h4>Methods</h4>A qualitative descriptive study design was used to assess factors that contribute to unsafe abortion practices. Purposive sampling technique was employed in selecting participants. Data were collected through key informant interviews and focus group discussions. One hundred and eleven participants were involved in the study. Data analysis was carried out through qualitative content analysis.<h4>Results</h4>Seven thematic categories were elicited from data collected. The categories are: a) Lack of knowledge of safe abortion services; b) Socio-economic conditions as a perceived influence for unsafe abortion practices; c) Safe abortion as a perceived religious and cultural taboo in Ghana; d) Stigma of unplanned pregnancy; e) A desire to bear children only after marriage; f) Avoiding parental/guardian disappointment and resentment; g) A desire to pursue education.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Evidence available in this study suggests that several factors are responsible for unsafe abortion practices in Ghana. Lack of knowledge on safe abortion services, poor socio-economic conditions, cultural and religious beliefs, a stigma of unplanned pregnancy, a desire to bear children only after marriage, attempts to avoid parental/guardian disappointment and resentment, and a desire to pursue education were cited by participants as situations that contributed to unsafe abortion practices. Measures such as Aunty Jane, Ms. Rose and Women Help Women programmes can be publicised to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality that occur as a result of unsafe abortions in Ghana. Improvement in family planning education in educational institutions needs to be considered in order to reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies among young women in school.
Project description:Although abortion has been legal under broad criteria in Nepal since 2002, a significant proportion of women continue to obtain illegal, unsafe abortions, and no national estimates exist of the incidence of safe and unsafe abortions.Data were collected in 2014 from a nationally representative sample of 386 facilities that provide legal abortions or postabortion care and a survey of 134 health professionals knowledgeable about abortion service provision. Facility caseloads and indirect estimation techniques were used to calculate the national and regional incidence of legal and illegal abortion. National and regional levels of abortion complications and unintended pregnancy were also estimated.In 2014, women in Nepal had 323,100 abortions, of which 137,000 were legal, and 63,200 women were treated for abortion complications. The abortion rate was 42 per 1,000 women aged 15-49, and the abortion ratio was 56 per 100 live births. The abortion rate in the Central region (59 per 1,000) was substantially higher than the national average. Overall, 50% of pregnancies were unintended, and the unintended pregnancy rate was 68 per 1,000 women of reproductive age.Despite legalization of abortion and expansion of services in Nepal, unsafe abortion is still common and exacts a heavy toll on women. Programs and policies to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion, increase access to high-quality contraceptive care and expand safe abortion services are warranted.
Project description:Safe and legal abortions are rarely practiced in the public health sector in Kenya, and rates of maternal mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion is high. Little is known about women's experiences seeking and accessing abortion in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya.Seven focus group discussions were conducted with a total of 71 women and girls recruited from an informal settlement in Nairobi. The interview guide explored participants' perceptions of unplanned pregnancy, abortion, and access to sexual and reproductive health information in their community. Thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts was conducted using MAX QDA Release 12.Participants described a variety of factors that influence women's experiences with abortion in their communities. According to participants, limited knowledge of sexual and reproductive health information and lack of access to contraception led to unplanned pregnancy among women in their community. Participants cited stigma and loss of opportunities that women with unplanned pregnancies face as the primary reasons why women seek abortions. Participants articulated stigma as the predominant barrier women in their communities face to safe abortion. Other barriers, which were often interrelated to stigma, included lack of education about safe methods of abortion, perceived illegality of abortion, as well as limited access to services, fear of mistreatment, and mistrust of health providers and facilities.Women in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya face substantial barriers to regulating their fertility and lack access to safe abortion. Policy makers and reproductive health advocates should support programs that employ harm reduction strategies and increase women's knowledge of and access to medication abortion outside the formal healthcare system.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In Côte d'Ivoire, induced abortion is legally restricted unless a pregnancy threatens a woman's life. Yet the limited available evidence suggests abortion is common and that unsafe abortion is contributing to the country's high maternal mortality. Our study aimed to estimate the one-year incidence of induced abortion in Côte d'Ivoire using both direct and indirect methodologies, determine the safety of reported abortions, and identify the women most likely to experience a recent induced abortion or an unsafe abortion. METHODS:In 2018, we conducted a nationally representative, population-based survey of women age 15 to 49 in Côte d'Ivoire. Women reported their own abortion experiences and those of their closest female confidante. We estimated the one-year incidence of induced abortion, and the safety of the abortions women experienced. Using bivariate and multivariate regression, we separately assessed sociodemographic characteristics associated with having had a recent abortion or an unsafe abortion. RESULTS:Overall, 2,738 women participated in the survey, approximately two-thirds of whom reported on the abortion experiences of their closest female friend. Based on respondent data, the one-year incidence of induced abortion was 27.9 (95% CI 18.6-37.1) per 1,000 women of reproductive age, while the confidante incidence was higher at 40.7 (95% CI 33.3-48.1) per 1,000. Among respondents, 62.4% of abortions were most unsafe, while 78.5% of confidante abortions were most unsafe. Adolescents, less educated women, and the poorest women had the most unsafe abortions. CONCLUSION:This study provides the first national estimates of induced abortion incidence and safety in Côte d'Ivoire, using a population-based approach to explore social determinants of abortion and unsafe abortion. Consistent with other research, our results suggest that legal restrictions on abortion in Côte d'Ivoire are not preventing women from having abortions, but rather pushing women to use unsafe, potentially dangerous abortion methods. Efforts to reduce the harms of unsafe abortion are urgently needed.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Global estimates of unsafe abortions have been produced for 1995, 2003, and 2008. However, reconceptualisation of the framework and methods for estimating abortion safety is needed owing to the increased availability of simple methods for safe abortion (eg, medical abortion), the increasingly widespread use of misoprostol outside formal health systems in contexts where abortion is legally restricted, and the need to account for the multiple factors that affect abortion safety.<h4>Methods</h4>We used all available empirical data on abortion methods, providers, and settings, and factors affecting safety as covariates within a Bayesian hierarchical model to estimate the global, regional, and subregional distributions of abortion by safety categories. We used a three-tiered categorisation based on the WHO definition of unsafe abortion and WHO guidelines on safe abortion to categorise abortions as safe or unsafe and to further divide unsafe abortions into two categories of less safe and least safe.<h4>Findings</h4>Of the 55· 7 million abortions that occurred worldwide each year between 2010-14, we estimated that 30·6 million (54·9%, 90% uncertainty interval 49·9-59·4) were safe, 17·1 million (30·7%, 25·5-35·6) were less safe, and 8·0 million (14·4%, 11·5-18·1) were least safe. Thus, 25·1 million (45·1%, 40·6-50·1) abortions each year between 2010 and 2014 were unsafe, with 24·3 million (97%) of these in developing countries. The proportion of unsafe abortions was significantly higher in developing countries than developed countries (49·5% vs 12·5%). When grouped by the legal status of abortion, the proportion of unsafe abortions was significantly higher in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws than in those with less restrictive laws.<h4>Interpretation</h4>Increased efforts are needed, especially in developing countries, to ensure access to safe abortion. The paucity of empirical data is a limitation of these findings. Improved in-country data for health services and innovative research to address these gaps are needed to improve future estimates.<h4>Funding</h4>UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction; David and Lucile Packard Foundation; UK Aid from the UK Government; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Restrictive abortion laws are the single most important determinant of unsafe abortion, a major, yet preventable, global health issue. While reviews have been conducted on the extent of the phenomenon, no study has so far analysed the evidence of why women turn to informal sector providers when legal alternatives are available. This work provides a systematic review of the qualitative literature on informal sector abortion in setting where abortion is legal.<h4>Methods</h4>We used the PRISMA guidelines to search Pubmed, Web of Science, Sciencedirect and Google Scholar databases between January and February 2018. 2794 documents in English and French were screened for eligibility against pre-determined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Articles investigating women's reasons for aborting in the informal sector in settings where abortion is legal were included. In total, sixteen articles were identified as eligible for this review. Findings were reported following the PRISMA guidelines.<h4>Results</h4>The review highlights the diverse reasons women turn to the informal sector, as abortions outside of legal health facilities were reported to be a widespread and normalised practice in countries where legal abortion is provided. Women cited a range of reasons for aborting in the informal sector; these included fear of mistreatment by staff, long waiting lists, high costs, inability to fulfil regulations, privacy concerns and lack of awareness about the legality of abortion or where to procure a safe and legal abortion. Not only was unsafe abortion spoken of in terms of medical and physical safety, but also in terms of social and economic security.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The use of informal sector abortions (ISAs) is a widespread and normalised practice in many countries despite the liberalisation of abortion laws. Although ISAs are not inherently unsafe, the practice in a setting where it is illegal will increase the likelihood that women will not be given the necessary information, or that they will be punished. This study brings to the fore the diverse reasons why women opt to abort outside formal healthcare settings and their issues with provision of abortion services in legal contexts, providing an evidence base for future research and policies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Although Nepal legalised abortion in 2002, a significant number of women continue to access unsafe abortions. An estimated 60% of all abortions performed in 2014 were unsafe, with unsafe abortion continuing to be a leading contributor to maternal mortality. Despite medical abortion access being solely permitted through government accredited safe abortion services, medical abortion pills are readily available for illegal purchase at pharmacies throughout the country. METHODS:Utilising an Assets Focused Rapid Participatory Appraisal (AFRPA) research methodology, underpinned by a health information pyramid conceptual framework, this qualitative exploratory study collected data from in-depth, open-ended interviews. The study explored the medical abortion and sexual and reproductive health experiences of ten women who accessed medical abortion through an accredited safe abortion service, and ten women who accessed unsafe medical abortion through pharmacies. RESULTS:Thematic content analysis revealed emerging themes relating to decision-making processes in accessing safe or unsafe medical abortion; knowledge of safe abortion services; and SRH information access and post-abortion contraceptive counselling. Findings emphasised the interconnectivity of sexual and reproductive health and rights; reproductive coercion; education; poverty; spousal separation; and women's personal, social and economic empowerment. CONCLUSIONS:While barriers to safe abortion services persist, so will the continued demand for medical abortion provision through pharmacies. Innovated and effective harm reduction implementations combined with access and information expansion strategies offer the potential to increase access to safe medical abortion while decreasing adverse health outcomes for women.
Project description:Abortion is regulated in Mexico at the state level, and it is permitted under certain criteria in all 32 states, except in Mexico City where first-trimester abortion is decriminalized. Yet, more than a million abortions occur in Mexico each year. But most terminations occurring outside of Mexico City are clandestine and unsafe due to profound stigma against the procedure, lack of trained providers, lack of knowledge of where to find a safe abortion and poor knowledge of the laws. While this situation is moderated by the increasing use of misoprostol, a relatively safe method of abortion, the safety of the procedure cannot be assured in restrictive legal contexts. The purpose of this study is to explore women's experiences with induced abortion in three federal entities with different legal contexts, and whether abortion seeking behavior and experiences differ across these settings. The study was carried out in three states, representing three different degrees of restrictiveness of abortion legislation. Queretaro with the "most restrictive" law, Tabasco with a "moderately restrictive" law, and Mexico state with the "least restrictive" law. We hypothesize that women living in more restrictive states will resort to the use of more unsafe and risky methods and providers for their abortion than their counterparts in less restrictive states. Women who recently obtained abortions were selected through snowball sampling and qualitative data were collected from them using semi-structured indepth interviews. Data collection took place between mid-2014 and mid-2015, with a final sample size N = 60 (20 from each state). Various themes involved in the process of abortion seeking behavior were developed from the IDIs and examined here: women's knowledge of the abortion law in their state, reasons for having an abortion; the methods and providers used and women's positive and negative experiences with abortion methods and providers used. Our results indicate that abortion safety is not associated with the restrictiveness of abortion legislation. Findings show that there is a new pattern of abortion service provision in Mexico, with misoprostol, a relatively safe and easy to use method, playing an important role. Nevertheless, while access to misoprostol tends to increase the safety of abortion, the improvement is moderated by women and their informants (relatives, friends and partners) not having accurate information on how to safely self-induce an abortion with misoprostol. On the other hand, some women manage to have safe abortion in illegal setting by going to Mexico City or with the support of NGOs knowlegeable on abortion. Findings demonstrate the importance of decriminalization of abortion, but meanwhile, harm reduction strategies, including promotion of accurate information about self-use of misoprostol where abortion is legally restricted will result in safe abortion.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the penal code prohibits the provision of abortion. In practice, however, it is widely accepted that the procedure can be performed to save the life of a pregnant woman. Although abortion is highly restricted, anecdotal evidence indicates that women often resort to clandestine abortions, many of which are unsafe. However, to date, there are no official statistics or reliable data to support this assertion.<h4>Objectives</h4>Our study provides the first estimates of the incidence of abortion and unintended pregnancy in Kinshasa.<h4>Methods</h4>We applied the Abortion Incidence Complications Method (AICM) to estimate the incidence of abortion and unintended pregnancy. We used data from a Health Facilities Survey and a Prospective Morbidity Survey to determine the annual number of women treated for abortion complications at health facilities. We also employed data from a Health Professionals Survey to calculate a multiplier representing the number of abortions for every induced abortion complication treated in a health facility.<h4>Results</h4>In 2016, an estimated 37,865 women obtained treatment for induced abortion complications in health facilities in Kinshasa. For every woman treated in a facility, almost four times as many abortions occurred. In total, an estimated 146,713 abortions were performed, yielding an abortion rate of 56 per 1,000 women aged 15-49. Furthermore, more than 343,000 unintended pregnancies occurred, resulting in an unintended pregnancy rate of 147 per 1,000 women aged 15-49.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Increasing contraceptive uptake can reduce the number of women who experience unintended pregnancies, and as a consequence, result in fewer women obtaining unsafe abortions, suffering abortion complications, and dying needlessly from unsafe abortion. Increasing access to safe abortion and improving post-abortion care are other measures that can be implemented to reduce unsafe abortion and/or its negative consequences, including maternal mortality.
Project description:PURPOSE:The 2005 expansion of the Ethiopian abortion law provided minors access to legal abortions, yet little is known about abortion among adolescents. This paper estimates the incidence of legal and clandestine abortions and the severity of abortion-related complications among adolescent and nonadolescent women in Ethiopia in 2014. METHODS:This paper uses data from three surveys: a Health Facility Survey (n?=?822) to collect data on legal abortions and postabortion complications, a Health Professionals Survey (n?=?82) to estimate the share of clandestine abortions that resulted in treated complications, and a Prospective Data Survey (n?=?5,604) to collect data on abortion care clients. An age-specific variant of the Abortion Incidence Complications Method was used to estimate abortions by age-group. RESULTS:Adolescents have the lowest abortion rate among all women below age 35 (19.6 per 1,000 women). After adjusting for lower levels of sexual activity among adolescents however, we find that adolescents have the highest abortion rate among all age-groups. Adolescents also have the highest proportion (64%) of legal abortions compared with other age-groups. We find no differences in the severity of abortion-related complications between adolescent and nonadolescent women. CONCLUSIONS:We find no evidence that adolescents are more likely than older women to have clandestine abortions. However, the higher abortion and pregnancy rates among sexually active adolescents suggest that they face barriers in access to and use of contraceptive services. Further work is needed to address the persistence of clandestine abortions among adolescents in a context where safe and legal abortion is available.