"Having Another Child Would Be a Life or Death Situation": Understanding Pregnancy Termination in Rural Bangladesh

Jessica D. Gipson, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Michelle J. Hindin, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

We conducted a mixed-method study to investigate pregnancy terminations (PT) in rural Bangladesh. Cross-sectional survey and longitudinal surveillance data were combined to assess PT levels and associated characteristics. Qualitative data were gathered via in-depth interviews with couples in 2004-05. Eleven percent of couples reported a PT in the study period; however, levels were highest among couples who wanted no more children in 1998 (29%). In the in-depth interviews, over half of the respondents reported at least one attempt to terminate a pregnancy. Although informants were uncomfortable with PT, most felt that in specific circumstances PT was justified and could prevent further harm to the woman and family. Both data sources indicated the strong influence of maternal age and husband’s fertility preferences on PT. Results from this mixed-method study contribute to our knowledge of PT in Bangladesh and highlight the need for continued support of contraceptive and menstrual regulation services.

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Presented in Session 138: Abortion as a Recourse for Fertility Control