Background: Abortion is the principle method of birth control in Armenia. There are few qualitative studies in the literature concerning family planning utilization and abortion practices, and only two studies carried out over a decade ago have addressed the larger social context in which family planning and abortion decision-making occurs.
Objectives: The purpose of the following research project was to investigate women's perceptions and experiences with contraception and abortion and elucidate the multifaceted and complex factors that influence family planning decisions and abortion seeking behavior among women of reproductive age in Armenia.
Methods and materials: Convenience sampling was used to recruit women and health providers for the study. In-depth interviews were carried out with all participants and content analysis was employed to analyze the data.
Results: Natural methods of contraception were primarily used over modern means due to socio-economic barriers; familial and peer influence; and negative perceptions. The use of induced abortion was primarily due to socio-economic conditions; a desire for birth spacing; and a desire to limit family size. Participants expressed that married couples generally share decision-making power regarding contraception and abortion with the exception of sex-selective abortions, in which husbands and/or the husband's family primarily make the decision. Reasons for son preference were tied to socio-economic conditions and the Armenian mentality regarding relative value of gender. The misuse of medical abortion was tied to socio-economic conditions; fear of surgical abortion; and misperceptions.
Discussion: Initiatives to reduce the unmet need for family planning should focus on education; expanding availability and accessibility of contraceptives; and empowerment of women. In regards to preventing unsafe abortion, initiatives should focus on health provider training and monitoring; making Cytotec available in pharmacies by prescription only; lowering the price of medical abortion at hospitals; and educating health providers and women about best practices. Concerning sex selection, policy changes should take place alongside initiatives that empower women and advance socio-economic well being.
|Advisor:||Anandaraja, Natasha A., Hennig, Nils|
|School:||Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Medicine, Womens studies, Public health|
|Keywords:||Abortion, Armenia, Contraception, Family planning, Medical abortion, Sex selection|
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