Context: Because induced abortion is illegal in most of Sub-Saharan Africa, information about why women may wish to terminate a pregnancy is difficult to obtain. Mozambique, where induced abortion is officially banned but is available on request in a number of hospitals, provides an opportunity to examine the characteristics and motivations of abortion patients. Methods: Analysis of data from the maternity ward records of an urban hospital provide a profile of 394 women who sought abortions in May-July 1993. Results: While large proportions of the women obtaining "quasi-legal" abortions were younger than 30 (74%), not in a union (58%) and in school (36%), the proportions who were older, married and working considerably exceeded those found among women obtaining clandestine abortions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Material difficulties and the desire to continue studies were the most common reasons women cited for seeking an abortion, given by 41% and 30%, respectively. However, many women with children decided to have an abortion because they wanted either to postpone the next birth or to cease childbearing. Few women gave contraceptive failure or the conflict between work and childbearing as a reason for abortion. Conclusions: Women's socioeconomic circumstances may affect their attitudes toward and ability to obtain an induced abortion. Legalization of the procedure would help extend services to underserved segments of the population, but greater access for poor, rural women will depend on the nation's socioeconomic progress.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development