'Repeat abortion', a phrase to be avoided? Qualitative insights into labelling and stigma.
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J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care
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BACKGROUND: In recent years there has been growing international interest in identifying risk factors associated with 'repeat abortion', and developing public health initiatives that might reduce the rate. This article draws on a research study looking at young women's abortion experience in England and Wales. The study was commissioned with a specific focus on women who had undergone more than one abortion. We examine what may influence women's post-abortion reproductive behaviour, in addition to exploring abortion-related stigma, in the light of participants' own narratives. STUDY DESIGN: Mixed-methods research study: a quantitative survey of 430 women aged 16-24 years, and in-depth qualitative interviews with 36 women who had undergone one or more abortions. This article focuses on the qualitative data from two subsets of young women: those we interviewed twice (n=17) and those who had experienced more than one unintended/unwanted pregnancy (n=15). RESULTS: The qualitative research findings demonstrate the complexity of women's contraceptive histories and reproductive lives, and thus the inherent difficulty of establishing causal patterns for more than one abortion, beyond the obvious observation that contraception was not used, or not used effectively. Women who had experienced more than one abortion did, however, express intensified abortion shame. CONCLUSIONS: This article argues that categorising women who have an abortion in different ways depending on previous episodes is not helpful. It may also be damaging, and generate increased stigma, for women who have more than one abortion.
AuthorsHoggart, L; Newton, VL; Bury, L
- Population Health