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Abortion experiences among Zanzibari women: A chain-referral sampling study

BACKGROUND: In Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania, induced abortion is illegal but common, and fewer than 12 % of married reproductive-aged women use modern contraception. As part of a multi-method study about contraception and consequences of unwanted pregnancies, the objective of this study was to understand the experiences of Zanzibari women who terminated pregnancies.                                                                                                                                                                            METHODS: The cross-sectional study was set in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Participants were a community-based sample of women who had terminated pregnancies. We carried out semi-structured interviews with 45 women recruited via chain-referral sampling. We report the characteristics of women who have had abortions, the reasons they had abortions, and the methods used to terminate their pregnancies.                                                                                                                                                                            RESULTS: Women in Zanzibar terminate pregnancies that are unwanted for a range of reasons, at various points in their reproductive lives, and using multiple methods. While clinical methods were most effective, nearly half of our participants successfully terminated a pregnancy using non-clinical methods and very few had complications requiring post-abortion care (PAC).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        CONCLUSIONS: Even in settings where abortion is illegal, some women experience illegal abortions without adverse health consequences, what we might call 'safer' unsafe abortions; these kinds of abortion experiences can be missed in studies about abortion conducted among women seeking PAC in hospitals. 

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  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Country/Region: Tanzania
  • Accessible: Yes
  • Source: BMC Reproductive Health. 2016 Volume 13, Issue 23
  • Doi: 10.1186/s12978-016-0129-9
  • Link: http://reproductive-health-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12978-016-0129-9
  • Language: English
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2016 Author(s)   Norris A, Harrington BJ, Grossman D, Hemed M, Hindin MJ In Article Key words