Investigating the Relationship Between Stigma and Abortion Safety: Preliminary Findings From a Survey in Nigeria

Mridula Shankar , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Grace Sheehy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Suzanne Bell, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Elizabeth F. Omoluabi, Centre for Research Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD)
Funmilola OlaOlorun, University of Ibadan
Caroline Moreau, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM)

There is a dearth of evidence on abortion stigma in Nigeria, including how it influences women’s access to and use of safer abortion care. This study’s objectives were to examine the extent of abortion-related stigma in Nigeria among reproductive age women, and to understand how it is associated with abortion safety. We used agreement with the statement that abortion brings shame to the family as a proxy measure, and of 11,106 surveyed women, 64% agreed with the statement. Women in the 15-19 age-group, in the poor and middle wealth categories, and those with some secondary or lower education recorded highest agreement. Among all reported abortions, one half were categorized as least safe. Stigma was associated with an increased odds of a least safe abortion, however this relationship was attenuated when adjusted for wealth, indicating that women’s access to resources likely plays a more significant role in accessing safe abortion care.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 1. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, & Reproductive Health 1