Young migrant and refugee people’s views on unintended pregnancy and abortion in Sydney

Jessica R. Botfield, Christy E. Newman, Deborah Bateson, Bridget Haire, Jane Estoesta, Christine Forster, Jennifer Schulz Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although abortion rates appear to be declining in high-income nations, there is still a need for accessible, safe abortion services. However, limited attention has been paid to understanding the social contexts which shape access to abortion information and services for communities who are less engaged with sexual and reproductive health care more generally. This paper explores the views and experiences of 27 migrant and refugee young people (16–24 years old) living in Sydney, Australia, regarding unintended pregnancy and abortion. Pregnancy outside marriage was described by all participants as a shameful prospect as it revealed pre-marital sexual activity. Even when abortion was described as culturally and/or religiously unacceptable, it was believed many families would find an abortion preferable to continuing an unintended pregnancy outside marriage. However, a pervasive culture of silence regarding sexual and reproductive health may limit access to quality information and support in this area. To better meet the needs of these young people, greater attention must be paid to strengthening youth and community awareness of the availability of contraception including emergency contraception, pregnancy options, and access to abortion information and services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-210
Number of pages16
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Abortion
  • Australia
  • cultural diversity
  • refugees
  • reproductive health and rights
  • young people

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