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The consequences of unsafe abortion : a qualitative study


S. Shahbazi:


shahbazi s. (2012) The consequences of unsafe abortion : a qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(6), 1247–1255.


Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the consequences of illegal abortions experienced by Iranian women.

Background.  Despite the increase in effective and safe methods of contraception and the distribution of information about these methods, unwanted pregnancy is still a problem in some societies. Induced abortion is a common procedure throughout the world and at least half of more than 45 million induced abortions which happen in a year are performed under unsafe circumstances. Unsafe abortions carry a high risk of maternal mortality and morbidity, accounting for more than 80,000 maternal deaths per year.

Method.  In this qualitative study, 27 participants were interviewed in 2006. Some participants were women who had illegal abortions and others were people who had contact with those women. Content analysis was used to identify and categorize participants’ responses to the interview questions.

Findings.  Four consequences of women’s experiences of illegal abortion were identified: physical, psychological, socio-political and judicial.

Conclusion.  In Iran, as in some other developing countries intentional abortion, except for some special cases, is illegal because of social and religious beliefs. In these countries, offering services and support to women with unwanted pregnancies seems to be the best solution for reducing or preventing illegal abortion.