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Knowledge, behaviour and attitudes on induced abortion and family planning among Sri Lankan women seeking termination of pregnancy

Authors:

Jennifer Perera ,

Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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Tharangi de Silva,

Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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Harshana Gange

Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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Abstract

Introduction In Sri Lanka over 500 induced abortions are done daily in spite of restrictive legislation. Experiences in other countries show that liberal laws alone have not solved the issues of induced abortions which may harm a woman’s physical and mental health.  

Objective To determine the socio-demographic features of women seeking termination of pregnancy, and their knowledge, attitude and behaviour with respect to induced abortion and family planning.  

Methods A prospective study on a randomly selected group of 210 women attending a clinic in Colombo requesting termination of pregnancy. A pre-tested interviewer-administered questionnaire was used for data collection.  

Results Over 80% of women seeking abortion were between 20 and 40 years of age. All religions were represented. 13% were single and 10% wanted to postpone a pregnancy. 38.6% had three or more children. In 90% the period of gestation was less than 10 weeks. Presence of a young child was the commonest reason for termination, followed by poverty. Only 0.9% were due to incest and foetal abnormality. 96% were not aware of adverse effects of abortion. 91% thought that induced abortion was immoral and 94% did not know that it was illegal. 29% had previous terminations and post-abortion contraception counselling was poor. Although 78% were knowledgeable on at least one method of contraception, only 16.3% were using it regularly.  

Discussion A majority used induced abortion as a family planning method. Improving accessibility and the quality of family planning services is of paramount importance. Every encounter of a woman with a health care worker should be an opportunity for counselling.

(Index words: Inadequate family planning services, legal status of pregnancy termination)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v49i1.3278

Ceylon Medical Journal 2004; 49: 14-17

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v49i1.3278
How to Cite: Perera, J., de Silva, T. and Gange, H., 2011. Knowledge, behaviour and attitudes on induced abortion and family planning among Sri Lankan women seeking termination of pregnancy. Ceylon Medical Journal, 49(1), pp.14–17. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v49i1.3278
Published on 15 Aug 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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