132 Annual Meeting Logo - Go to APHA Meeting Page  
APHA Logo - Go to APHA Home Page

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Decision Making Process in Seeking Abortion: Observation from a Qualitative Study in India

M.E. Khan, PhD, Population Council, Population Council, India, One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York, NY 10017, 91-11-24610913, mekhan@pcindia.org

The paper based on in-depth interviews of 129 women analyses decision-making process for accepting or aborting an unwanted pregnancy. Each interview was spread over 5-8 sitting and about 10 hours of discussion. Findings show that 33% of the total pregnancies women had were unwanted. Forced sex and non-cooperation by husband in contraceptive use and failure of methods were identified as the main cause of unwanted pregnancies. Husbands play key role in accepting or aborting unwanted pregnancies. In majority of cases, husbands did not allow abortion causing major disappointment, and physical/ mental hardship to women. Women who were sure that their husband will oppose abortion, secretly tried abortion using traditional harmful methods. When husband approved abortion, they did all what is required to receive safe abortion services. Though abortion is legalized in 1972, yet majority consider it illegal and morally bad. These societal constrain often delay the decision to abort the unwanted pregnancies causing refusal by the doctors at public clinics to conduct abortion. This forces women either to go to private clinics or untrained abortion providers. The providers at public clinics often held negative attitude towards abortion, perceived it as sin and discouraged women to undergo abortion or offered abortion services only on the condition that the women would accept sterilization/ IUD. Most women who failed to abort or even those who succeeded in aborting the unwanted pregnancies, passed through a major psychological depression without any support either at home, community or clinics at larger to console them.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Abortion, Decision-Making

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Addressing Unsafe Abortion in International Settings

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA