Induced Abortion Practices in an Urban Indian Slum: Exploring Reasons, Pathways and Experiences
AbstractObjective:To explore the context, experiences and pathways of seeking abortion care among married women in a minority dominated urban slum community in Mumbai city of India.Materials and methods:A mixed-method study was conducted using a systematic random sampling method to select 282 respondents from the slum community. One fifth of these womenreported undergoing at least one induced abortion over past five years. A quantitative survey was conducted among these women (n=57) using structured face-to-face interviews. Additionally, in-depths interviews involving 11 respondents, 2 community health workers and 2 key informants from the community were conducted for further exploration of qualitative data.Results:The rate of induced abortion was 115.6 per 1000 pregnancies in the study area with an abortion ratio of 162.79 per 1000 live births. Frequent pregnancies with low birth spacing and abortions were reported among the women due to restricted contraception use based on religious beliefs. Limited supportfrom husband and family compelled the women to seek abortion services, mostly secretly, from private, unskilled providers and unregistered health facilities. Friends and neighbors were main sources of advice and link to abortion services. Lack of safe abortion facilities within accessible distance furtherintensifies the risk of unsafe abortions.Conclusion:Low contraception usage based on rigid cultural beliefs and scarcely accessible abortion services were the root causes of extensive unsafe abortions.Contraception awareness and counseling with involvement of influential community leaders as well as safe abortion services need to be strengthened to protect these deprived women from risks of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
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