Perceptions and Practices of Illegal Abortion among Urban Young Adults in the Philippines: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

This study draws on in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with young adults in a metropolitan area of the Philippines to examine perceptions and practices of illegal abortion. Study participants indicated that unintended pregnancies are common and may be resolved through eventual acceptance or through self-induced injury or ingestion of substances to terminate the pregnancy. Despite the illegality of abortion and the restricted status of misoprostol, substantial knowledge and use of the drug exists. Discussions mirrored broader controversies associated with abortion in this setting. Abortion was generally thought to invoke gaba (bad karma), yet some noted its acceptability under certain circumstances. This study elucidates the complexities of pregnancy decisionmaking in this restrictive environment and the need for comprehensive and confidential reproductive health services for Filipino young adults.

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