Regional and residential disparities in knowledge of abortion legality and availability of facility-based abortion services in Ethiopia

Grace Sheehy, Jessica L. Dozier, Alexandria K. Mickler, Mahari Yihdego, Celia Karp, Linnea A. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To generate regional, residential, and nationally representative estimates of knowledge of abortion legality and availability among women of reproductive age in Ethiopia, and examine how knowledge varies across regions and by urban/rural residence. Study Design: Our study draws on data from a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey implemented in 2019 in each of Ethiopia's regional and administrative states, yielding a sample of 8,837 women aged 15 to 49. We compare weighted estimates and regional distributions of 3 outcomes: (1) general awareness and (2) correct knowledge of the abortion law, and (3) knowledge of facility-based abortion service availability. Results: Significant regional and urban/rural disparities in knowledge of abortion legality and availability exist. Nationally, 27% of women are aware of the abortion law and just 5% of women have comprehensive knowledge of the law, while 30% know where to access facility-based abortion services. Regionally, estimates range significantly, from 2% in Somali to 45% in Addis Ababa for general awareness of the law, 0% in Afar to 27% in Harare for comprehensive knowledge of the law, and 8% in Afar to 57% in Tigray for knowledge of abortion availability. Knowledge of all measures is higher in urban than in rural areas. Conclusions: Regional disparities in abortion knowledge may contribute to geographic inequities in access to and use of safe abortion care. Efforts to expand knowledge of abortion legality and availability are needed and should be tailored to regional contexts. Implications: Knowledge of abortion legality and availability is imperative to protecting and expanding access to safe abortion care, especially in contexts like Ethiopia where abortion is available for multiple indications. Efforts to improve knowledge of abortion legality and availability are needed, and should be locally tailored to address regional inequities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100066
JournalContraception: X
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Abortion
  • Abortion laws
  • Ethiopia
  • Legal knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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