The Role of Men in Abortion Decision-Making and Postabortion Care in Uganda

Ann M. Moore, Guttmacher Institute

Abortion is illegal in Uganda except to save the life of a woman. Nevertheless, about 300,000 induced abortions occur annually and 85,000 women are treated for postabortion complications. In this culture where men control most of the financial resources, men play a critical part in determining whether women receive a safe abortion or appropriate treatment if they experience abortion complications. This study draws on in-depth interviews (IDIs) carried out in Uganda in 2003 with 61 women and 21 men. Most men believe that if a woman is having an abortion, it must be because she is pregnant with another man’s child. If the woman does experience postabortion complications, men said that they cannot support her in such a situation because if it had been his child, she would not have had a clandestine abortion. Since money alone guarantees care, women’s inability to involve men in abortion decision-making endangers women’s lives.

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Presented in Session 98: Determinants, Associations and Consequences of Abortion