Understanding the Reasons behind Ghanaian Women's Pregnancy Terminations

Adriana A. Biney, University of Ghana

Studies allude to induced abortion as a contributor to Ghana’s fertility decline, especially since contraceptive use levels have not proportionally increased. If induced abortions are a means through which Ghanaian women control their births, it behooves us to understand the reasons behind their pregnancy terminations and its link to the abortion methods they ultimately use. To examine this, the paper draws on data from the 2007 Ghana Maternal Health Survey and interviews conducted in 2008 with patients at Korle Bu and Tema Hospitals. Qualitative results show women underwent abortions for five reasons, the most prevalent being financial and to space/limit births. Survey findings also suggest birth spacing/limiting as the main abortion reason. Furthermore, women were more likely to terminate pregnancies unsafely if their main reason was due to financial constraints. In conclusion, interventions formulated to reduce instances of pregnancy terminations should target the root of the problem: the unintended pregnancies.

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Presented in Session 38: The Persistence of Unsafe Abortion