Women's experiences of induced abortion in Mombasa city and the Kilifi district, Kenya.
Ndunyu, Louisa Njeri.
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The primary objectives in this study were to gain a deep level of understanding of Kenyan women’s experiences of seeking abortion, both safe and unsafe, and to explore how social and legal issues impact their choices and the routes they take to obtain abortion. I explored the contexts and interpreted 49 in-depth narratives of women’s emic experiences of abortion in Mombasa city and the Kilifi district, Kenya, using a qualitative form of inquiry conducted between April and July 2005. Ethical Review Committees granted ethical clearance to this study. This emic work revealed gender inequity consistent with developing feminist theory and thus how women conceive gendered relationships is introduced in this analysis of women's narratives. The findings provide new insights as well as useful confirmatory knowledge, gleaned from detailed empirical evidence within Kenyan women’s social contexts. The women have revealed the evidence through their narratives; such an approach is largely missing in existing abortion literature. The prominent finding is that women do not abort motherhood, but they do abort particular pregnancies to protect motherhood; to avoid a difficult motherhood likely to compromise the quality of care they envisage for their potential and existing children. This includes ensuring the best nurturing environment, paternal and religious identity, social legitimacy. The abortion decision is difficult to make and thoroughly considered. The married women make a consultative decision with their ‘breadwinners’ having the upper hand. Legal barriers cannot bar abortion but entrench inequities in abortion care access, heighten secrecy, stigma, and hamper prompt comprehensive post abortion care seeking. Thus, financial resources, peers, geographical remoteness, and knowledge significantly influence the type of abortion accessed. Consequently, unsafe abortion threatens motherhood of the most vulnerable groups of women. The foremost recommendation is that public health law must ensure healthy, enjoyable, dignified motherhood for the women; hence safe early abortion (first trimester) must become accessible to alleviate existing health care inequities.
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