245943 Deconstructing abortion stigma in Ghana and Zambia

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:10 PM

Leila Hessini, MPH, MA , Community Engagement and Mobilization, Ipas, Chapel Hill, NC
Brooke A. Levandowski, PhD, MPA , Research and Evaluation, Ipas, Chapel Hill, NC
Identifying social markers, social norms and practices that have the potential of stigmatizing abortion is essential to ensuring that all women are able to exercise their reproductive rights. However, few researchers or practitioners have explored how abortion stigma is generated in different contexts; by whom; what forms it takes; and the consequences for women seeking abortions. Without understanding these dynamics, designing effective interventions to reduce abortion stigma are impossible. This research was undertaken to identify roots, causes and manifestations of abortion stigma at the community level in Ghana and Zambia, two countries with fairly liberal abortion laws and multiple access barriers to safe abortions. Fifteen focus group discussions were conducted with married and unmarried men and women in two communities in each country. This qualitative data was used to generate an item pool to develop an abortion stigma scale to measure abortion stigma at the community level and evaluate relevant interventions. The tool was pretested in each community and modified as necessary. A factor analysis technique was used to develop a statistically valid scale. Correlations were examined between abortion stigma, personal characteristics and geographic locations to develop a scale that is broadly applicable and adaptable. This tool will be used to evaluate community interventions and for future programmatic planning.

This presentation will help individuals to better understand how abortion stigma may affect attitudes, practices and access to services, and what steps could be taken to mitigate it.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
• Increase understanding of the roots, causes and manifestations of abortion stigma in Ghana and Zambia • Discuss how abortion stigma intersects with gender, age and marital status • Discuss possible interventions to decrease abortion stigma

Keywords: Abortion, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee the program on community mobilizatoin and stigma reduction
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.