Abortion and Contraception in Pakistan: Birth Control Strategies in an Islamic Society

Zeba A. Sathar, Population Council
Shafique Arif, Population Council

Research conducted by others reveals that, while women recognize the legal and moral issues surrounding induced abortion, they weigh these against their fear of contraceptive side effects and, above all, the costs of having an unwanted child (whether due to non-practice of contraception or ineffective practice). Interviews with women and their husbands document a large gap in the stated rationale and the actual occurrence of abortion. The aim of this paper is to explore the relationship between contraception and induced abortion, and the decision-making process that leads to an induced abortion, using exceptional data that have recently been collected in Pakistan. A survey was conducted for over 400 women receiving post-abortion care (induced or spontaneous) in facilities all across Pakistan. Qualitative data are from in-depth interviews with 60 women and 42 men, 36 of which are couples residing in six urban and rural localities in Punjab and Sind.

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Presented in Session 135: Abortion I