Abortion Experiences of Zanzibari Women

Bryna Harrington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Daniel Grossman, Ibis Reproductive Health

As part of a multi-method study about contraception and consequences of unwanted pregnancies in Zanzibar, we assessed experiences of a community-based sample of women who had terminated pregnancies. Using results of 44 interviews with women recruited via chain-referral sampling, we report characteristics of women who have had abortions, reasons they had abortions, and methods used to terminate their pregnancies. Women in Zanzibar terminate pregnancies that are unwanted for a range of reasons, at various points in their reproductive lives, using multiple methods, and usually without complications requiring PAC. While facility-based methods were most effective, nearly half of our participants reported success using non-facility methods, and most terminated pregnancies without complications that lead to hospitalizations. Thus, even in settings where abortion is illegal, some women experience what we might call ‘safer’ abortions; these kinds of abortion experiences are missed in studies conducted among women seeking PAC in hospitals.

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 Presented in Session P9. Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health