Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion in Burkina Faso: Causes and Consequences

Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion in Burkina Faso: Causes and Consequences

What are the numbers and circumstances of induced abortions and what are the consequences of unsafe abortions in Burkina Faso? This document provides estimates of the number and rate of induced abortions that occurred in Burkina Faso in 2008 and 2012, provides levels of unintended pregnancy and describes consequences of unsafe abortion.

In Burkina Faso induced abortions are only permitted if the life and health of a woman is at risk and in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal impairment. As a result, most unintended abortions are done in secrecy to avoid social stigma. Such abortions are conducted under unsafe conditions which is a severe threat to women’s health. Cultural, ethnic, religious and demographic factors influence sexual and reproductive behaviour. The numbers for induced abortion vary between urban and rural areas as the desired family size is considerably smaller in urban areas. It could also be observed that there are more induced abortions by younger and better educated women.

Some of the policy implications of the findings include:

  • It is necessary to increase contraceptive use to avoid unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions
  • Family planning methods must be expanded and promoted by the country’s primary health services
  • Special attention needs to be given to young and unmarried women who are disproportionately affected
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