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Scientific article
English

Abortion: An Open Secret? Abortion and Social Network Involvement in Burkina Faso

Published inReproductive health matters, vol. 15, no. 30, p. 230-238
Publication date2007
Abstract

Abortion in Burkina Faso is a subject that neither abortion providers nor women want to talk about. Abortion providers fear criminal prosecution; women's silence is dictated more by the wish to avoid the stigma of a ‘‘shameful'' pregnancy. Qualitative investigations in Burkina Faso among 13 key informants in a rural village in 2000 and 30 women and men aware of experience of abortion in the capital Ouagadougou in 2001, explored two paradoxes: what prompts women and providers to reveal something they want to be kept totally secret, and how do women keep their abortion secret while nevertheless talking to others about it? The study found that young women in Burkina Faso are impelled to talk to their boyfriends, friends and in fewer cases women relatives about their unplanned pregnancy, first to decide to have an abortion and then to get help in finding a clandestine provider. Abortion is also kept secret because it is a subject on which there is no social consensus, alongside extra-marital sexual activity, contraceptive use by young people and out-of-wedlock pregnancies. The key to keeping a secret lies in the choice of those with whom to share it; good confidants are those who are bound by secrecy through the bonds of intimacy or shared transgression.

Citation (ISO format)
ROSSIER, Clementine. Abortion: An Open Secret? Abortion and Social Network Involvement in Burkina Faso. In: Reproductive health matters, 2007, vol. 15, n° 30, p. 230–238. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(07)30313-3
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ISSN of the journal0968-8080
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