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Assessing public awareness and use of medical abortion via mobile phone survey in India

Research, Maternal Health1 min read

Authors: Kathleen Broussard, Payal Hathi, Diane Coffey

Published in: Contraception

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Abstract:

Objective: We assess the feasibility of measuring awareness and use of medical abortion via a mobile phone survey on social attitudes in India. Study design: In 2018, we conducted a mobile phone survey with 3455 married men and women in Bihar and Maharashtra, two of India’s most populous states. As part of a broader survey on social inequality, welfare programs, and health, we asked respondents about their awareness of medical abortion and whether they (or their wife) had ever had a medical abortion.

Results: Among men and women in Bihar and Maharashtra, one fifth to one third of respondents said that they had heard of medical abortion. In Bihar, men were more likely than women to report having heard of pills that can be used to end a pregnancy. Awareness of medical abortion was positively associated with education and with women’s status within the household.  Consistent with results from representative face-to-face surveys, reported use of abortion medications was low.

Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that respondents are willing to answer abortion-related questions via mobile phone survey and reveal differences in reported awareness of medical abortion according to the region, sex, education, and household status. Implications: Inclusion of abortion-related questions in a large-scale, social attitudes phone survey is a feasible option for assessing public awareness of medical abortion in India.

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r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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