Women's awareness and knowledge of abortion laws: A systematic review

Anisa R. Assifi, Blair Berger, Özge Tunçalp, Rajat Khosla, Bela Ganatra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Incorrect knowledge of laws may affect how women enter the health system or seek services, and it likely contributes to the disconnect between official laws and practical applications of the laws that influence women's access to safe, legal abortion services. Objective: To provide a synthesis of evidence of women's awareness and knowledge of the legal status of abortion in their country, and the accuracy of women's knowledge on specific legal grounds and restrictions outlined in a country's abortion law. Methods: A systematic search was carried for articles published between 1980-2015. Quantitative, mixed-method data collection, and objectives related to women's awareness or knowledge of the abortion law was included. Full texts were assessed, and data extraction done by a single reviewer. Final inclusion for analysis was assessed by two reviewers. The results were synthesised into tables, using narrative synthesis. Results: Of the original 3,126 articles, and 16 hand searched citations, 24 studies were included for analysis. Women's correct general awareness and knowledge of the legal status was less than 50%in nine studies. In six studies, knowledge of legalization/liberalisation ranged between 32.3% - 68.2%. Correct knowledge of abortion on the grounds of rape ranged from 12.8% - 98%, while in the case of incest, ranged from 9.8%-64.5%. Abortion on the grounds of fetal impairment and gestational limits, varied widely from 7%-94% and 0% - 89.5% respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0152224
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

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