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Keywords:

  • induced abortion;
  • post-abortion care;
  • reproductive health services;
  • unwanted pregnancy

Introduction: The aims of this descriptive study were to determine the prevalence of illegal induced abortion among participants, the factors that influence decision making to have an abortion, and the health consequences of abortion in Iran.

Methods: Women who attended health centers or an antenatal clinic in Iran were interviewed to complete a questionnaire.

Results: Among the 2705 participants, 17% had experienced at least 1 illegal induced abortion. Education level, family income, religion, ethnicity, number of children, and age at marriage are associated with having an induced abortion. One-third of abortions (33%) were performed by nonmedical providers. The desire to stop or postpone childbearing and family economic problems were the most common reasons for having an abortion. Most women (84%) experienced a complication of abortion that required hospitalization.

Discussion: Strategies to prevent abortion complications are needed and could include training midwives and general physicians to perform abortions and promoting the availability of post-abortion care.