Do the Better Family Planning Services Offered by the MCH-FP Project in Matlab, Bangladesh Affect the Method of Abortion Used?
Julie DaVanzo, RAND
Mizanur Rahman, Pathfinder International
Abdur Razzaque, ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research
Clifford Grammich, RAND
In Bangladesh, early-gestation pregnancy terminations by manual vacuum aspiration provided at public health facilities are legal, but less safe, illegal abortions are available from village practitioners. We use longitudinal data from the Matlab Demographic Surveillance System to analyze both types of abortion in comparable areas typical of much of Bangladesh -- a comparison area that receives standard government family planning services and a treatment area that receives better family planning services. We find that contraceptive availability and quality affect both the rates and methods of abortion during our study period, 1989 to 2000. In both areas, most abortions before 1993 were done by illegal methods, but since then most have been done by legal means. Similar changes have occurred among women of all age groups in both areas. Highly educated women are the most likely to terminate their pregnancies, but they are also the most likely to use legal, safer methods to do so.