Women’s decision making for unintended pregnancies: should I abort or should I go?

Tugba Adali, Hacettepe University
Alanur Cavlin, Hacettepe University

Induced abortion was legalized in Turkey in 1983 and it is currently available on demand for all pregnancies up to ten weeks. Levels of abortion have been decreasing since the late 1980s parallel to the increase in modern contraceptive use. However, findings from the most recent DHS carried out in Turkey showed that induced abortion was down to 5 per 100 pregnancies from 10 per 100 pregnancies in the 5 year period between TDHS-2008 and TDHS-2013. Despite the low level of induced abortion, the government in Turkey took a clear anti-abortion stance in 2012. Furthermore, doctors were granted the option of conscientious objection to induced abortion; and the number of provider institutions were limited. The decline in abortions and the change in the government’s stance led us to discuss the following questions: Could the public view have influenced the decision regarding induced abortions in case of unwanted pregnancies? Could it be that induced abortion services can now only be accessed by a distinct group of women in Turkey? We thus aim to differentiate women who decide for abortion or birth by analyzing individual and household level characteristics such as education, age, partner’s age, parity, place of residence, working status, social security coverage and religious affiliation. We will compare our results for 2003-2008 and 2008-2013 periods in order to see the possible effects of the anti-abortion atmosphere. Preliminary findings show that the proportion of unwanted pregnancies ending in induced abortion declined from 28 percent to 20 percent from TDHS-2008 to TDHS-2013. Both surveys show that unintended pregnancies less often end in abortion in rural areas. In the further stage of our study, we will employ logistic regression analysis to figure out the characteristics of women with higher odds of abortion in case of unintended pregnancy, for TDHS-2008 and TDHS-2013 separately.

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Presented in Session 120: Abortion: attitudes and determinants