Academic paper: Is induced abortion really declining in Armenia?

by Ann Jilozian, Victor Agadjanian

Studies in Family Planning 2016;47(2):163–78

Abstract

As in other post-Soviet settings, induced abortion has been widely used in Armenia. However, recent national survey data point to a substantial drop in abortion rates with no commensurate increase in modern contraceptive prevalence and no change in fertility levels. We use data from in-depth interviews with women of reproductive age and health providers in rural Armenia to explore possible under-reporting of both contraceptive use and abortion. While we find no evidence that women understate their use of modern contraception, the analysis suggests that induced abortion might indeed be under-reported. The potential for under-reporting is particularly high for sex selective abortions, for which there is growing public backlash, and medical abortion, a practice that is typically self-administered outside any professional supervision. Possible under-reporting of induced abortion calls for refinement of both abortion registration and relevant survey instruments. Better measurement of abortion dynamics is necessary for successful promotion of effective modern contraceptive methods and reduction of unsafe abortion practices.