Choosing Unsafe Abortion Services: Influences on Decision-Making in Accra, Ghana

Elizabeth Oliveras, Harvard University

Although levels of induced abortion in Ghana are poorly understood, it is increasingly apparent that some women obtain safe abortion services while others rely on unsafe providers. This is partially the result of limited access for some women but others do make the seemingly irrational choice to use unsafe services when safe services are available. This study uses data from focus group discussions with women in Accra to explore the factors that may affect women’s decisions about abortion services. It highlights that women are aware of the risks of unsafe abortion and are able to identify what is unsafe and explores reasons why they may expose themselves to known risks. In particular, it goes beyond the rational choice model to consider not only the social and economic costs of seeking abortion services from hospitals and health clinics but the influence of larger social norms and the role of power relations.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3: Fertility, Family Planning, Unions, and Sexual Behavior