The Interface between the lived experience of Women Practicing Abortion and Attitude of the Community towards Abortion in a Sociocultural Context: The Case of Woldia Town, North Wollo Zone, Amhara National Regional State

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Addis Ababa University


The issue of abortion is as old as human existence. People since distant past to the present day have used it as a fertility control mechanism. The existing socio cultural factors influence women‟s abortion experiences despite they have their own desires, intention and rationale .Nonetheless, little has been done regarding lived experience from the women‟s perspective by integrating the community attitude towards abortion practice. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to examine the interface between the lived experience of women and attitude of community towards abortion in Woldia Town, North Wollo Zone. Mixed research approach was employed so as to collect and analyze data obtained from household survey, KIIs, IDIs and FGDs. The data obtained from survey and informants were analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistics (SPSS version 20) and thematic analysis respectively. Household heads (n=310) with mean age of 41.33 to assess the practice of abortion and community response within a socio cultural context. Besides, women (n=12) were interviewed to explore the negotiating strategies and lived experiences in practicing induced abortion. The finding of this study showed that induced abortion is evidently practiced in the study area in spite of negative attitudes of community towards abortion but most people did not know abortion law of Ethiopia. Socio-economic and socio-cultural factors were the main reasons in pregnancy termination. The multiple regression test of socio cultural discourses indicated that there was a statistically significant at p<0.01 ;( p=0.000) on community attitudes towards abortion. Hence, strict community values and norms found to have a predominant influence up on the decision making process and abortion practice as well as the community response towards abortion so that 73% of community had negative attitude. As a result, the social stigma was still pervasive. As the qualitative result showed, women experiencing induced abortion faced complicated life challenges and double sufferers as they are responsible for their living situation and managing the societal reactions/stigma. Consequently, most women experienced psychological and emotional impacts, social stigma and even social rejection and reactions. Finally, this study suggests some of the policy implications such as re-visiting the existing abortion law, community based interventions and awareness rising, multi-stakeholder approaches and women empowerment approaches that should consider the interface between abortion practice and community response



abortion practice; lived experience;community attitude;socio-cultural discourses ; structuration theory