Estimating Abortion Incidence Using the Network Scale-up Method

Elizabeth A. Sully , Guttmacher Institute
Margaret Giorgio, Guttmacher Institute
Selena Anjur-Dietrich, Guttmacher Institute

A major challenge in the field of abortion research is accurately measuring the incidence of induced abortion in clandestine or restrictive settings. This study tests the application of the Network Scale-Up Method (NSUM), an indirect social-network based measure, to estimate abortion incidence. While the NSUM has been used to estimate other stigmatized behaviors, this is the first study to rigorously test its application in estimating nationally-representative abortion incidence rates. Data for this analysis comes from the 2018 Performance, Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) community-based surveys in Ethiopia and Uganda. We compare the NSUM abortion incidence estimates with women’s direct reports and previous abortion incidence estimates in both countries. We conduct a series of robustness checks on the estimated social network size to assess the accuracy of our NSUM abortion estimate. We also conduct a validation check using the NSUM to estimate IUD and implant use, for which reliable estimates already exist.

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 Presented in Session 35. Abortion