Termination of pregnancy: Perspectives of female students in Durban, South Africa

  • Ashley Gresh University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Pranitha Maharaj University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: Pregnancy termination, In depth interviews, public health, KwaZulu-Natal


Pregnancy termination among young women constitutes a public health problem particularly in South Africa where high prevalence of abortion has been recently recorded. The primary objective of this study was to assess the social context in which decisions about termination of pregnancy are taken. In particular, it examines the perspectives of young women with regard to abortion and abortion methods, specifically medical abortion. The study draws on in-depth interviews with female students at a university in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The findings suggest that for the majority of women, abortion is a context-driven choice. While women were opposed to abortion for themselves, it was seen as justifiable under certain circumstances. There was a feeling that abortion services should be made accessible to all women that seek them, including medical abortion. The major identified barriers to accessing abortion services were: stigma and cultural beliefs; finances; and negative attitudes of health providers. Termination of pregnancy services should take into account the context in which women make decisions on abortion as well as the barriers women face in accessing abortion services in order to reduce its prevalence. 


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Author Biographies

Ashley Gresh, University of KwaZulu-Natal
School of Built Environment and Development Studies
Pranitha Maharaj, University of KwaZulu-Natal
School of Built Environment and Development Studies