Cover image for The sociocultural and political aspects of abortion : global perspectives
The sociocultural and political aspects of abortion : global perspectives
Basu, Alaka Malwade.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2003]

Physical Description:
x, 275 pages ; 24 cm
induced abortion in a changing world / Abortion: a worldwide overview / challenge of induced abortion research: transdisciplinary perspectives / Demographic research and abortion policy: limits to the use of statistics / Kutoa Mimba: debates about schoolgirl abortion in Machame, Tanzania / Cleaning the belly: managing menstrual health in Guinea, West Africa / Changing assessments of abortion in a northern Nigerian town / role of local herbs in the recent fertility decline in Ghana: contraceptives or abortifacients? / Menstrual regulation in Bangladesh / impact of reproductive health policy changes on fertility, abortion, and contraceptive use in Romania / Determinants of abortion and contraceptive behavior in Russia / Abortion legislation in Mexico in the face of a changing sociodemographic and political context / role of pharmacists and market herb vendors as abortifacient providers in Mexico City / social pressure to abort / Concluding remarks: the role of ambiguity
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Seeking to define the ways various cultures view pregnancy, miscarriage, and abortion, this multidisciplinary collection of essays seeks to illustrate how these views influence policy decisions and practices regarding abortion around the world. Putting questions of pro-life and pro-choice aside, the contributors provide demographic coverage of the issues involved and contextualize some of the personal realities that underlie the approximately 50 million abortions that are believed to take place yearly worldwide. While the political and social climates in which women seek abortions vary from place to place, many of the chapters try to understand the moral implications that guide the decision to end a pregnancy from the perspective of the those who seek to do so.

Focusing primarily on developing nations, this important contribution to the literature on abortion provides readers with a careful overview of the different meanings attached to abortion depending on the cultural, social, and political climate. Areas covered include Tanzania, Bangladesh, West Africa, Ghana, Romania, Russia, Mexico, and Nigeria. General chapters on induced abortion, demographic research and abortion policy, and social pressures to abort are also included. This unique approach to the study of abortion will contribute to a greater understanding of a prominent social issue.

Author Notes

ALAKA MALWADE BASU is Senior Research Associate at the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this comprehensive edited volume, 22 contributors--demographers, psychologists, and anthropologists--take a well-balanced, "transdisciplinary" approach to their subject, examining the often contradictory social and political pressures for and against abortion in many parts of the world. The "spectacularly under-measured and under-researched" subject of pregnancy termination is also spectacularly complex, with attitudes and practices varying widely by multiple and interrelated factors, including culture, region, politics, religion, law, demographic circumstances, and individual moral precepts. Moreover, attitudes toward both abortion and actual practices are currently in a state of flux worldwide, due to social and political changes brought about by global or regional events (e.g., the women's movement, population pressure) and more local cultural considerations (e.g., demographic factors such as maternal marital status, parity, income, and birth interval). Even the definition of what constitutes abortion varies; in many cultures, for example, routine "menstrual regulation" is not considered abortion. Multiple ideologies, including the pro-choice argument dominating US and international development discourse, are considered. The book takes a wider view than either Mundigo and Indriso's Abortion in the Developing World (1999) or van de Walle and Renne's Regulating Menstruation (CH, Jan'02). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Faculty and specialists. M. A. Gwynne SUNY at Stony Brook

Table of Contents

John C. Caldwell and Pat CaldwellSusheela Singh and Stanley K. Henshaw and Kathleen BerentsenAxel I. MundigoAndrzej KulczyckiAmy StambachElise LevinElisha P. RenneJohn K. AnarfiSajeda AminFlorina Serbanescu and Leo Morris and Paul StuppInge HutterSusana Lerner and Guadalupe SalasSusan Pick and Martha Givaudan and Marsela Alvarez Izazaga and Maria Elena ColladoChantal Blayo and Yves BlayoAlaka Malwade Basu
Tablesp. ix
1. Introduction: Induced Abortion in a Changing Worldp. 1
2. Abortion: A Worldwide Overviewp. 15
3. The Challenge of Induced Abortion Research: Transdisciplinary Perspectivesp. 49
4. Demographic Research and Abortion Policy: Limits to the Use of Statisticsp. 65
5. Kutoa Mimba: Debates about Schoolgirl Abortion in Machame, Tanzaniap. 79
6. Cleaning the Belly: Managing Menstrual Health in Guinea, West Africap. 103
7. Changing Assessments of Abortion in a Northern Nigerian Townp. 119
8. The Role of Local Herbs in the Recent Fertility Decline in Ghana: Contraceptives or Abortifacients?p. 139
9. Menstrual Regulation in Bangladeshp. 153
10. The Impact of Reproductive Health Policy Changes on Fertility, Abortion, and Contraceptive Use in Romaniap. 167
11. Determinants of Abortion and Contraceptive Behavior in Russiap. 185
12. Abortion Legislation in Mexico in the Face of a Changing Sociodemographic and Political Contextp. 203
13. The Role of Pharmacists and Market Herb Vendors as Abortifacient Providers in Mexico Cityp. 225
14. The Social Pressure to Abortp. 237
15. Concluding Remarks: The Role of Ambiguityp. 249
About the Editor and Contributorsp. 261
Indexp. 267