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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

LEAL, Ondina Fachel. "Those of you who have never had an abortion, raise your hand!": rethinking ethnographic data on the dissemination of abortion practices among low-income populations in Brazil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.7, pp. 1689-1697. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000700007.

Based on recently published research findings on abortion rates, this paper re-examines original ethnographic data on abortion in order to open a discussion on the dissemination of abortion, its possible cultural configurations and its social legitimacy among low-income populations in Brazil. It refers retrospectively to two works of empirical research studies and presents an estimate of the prevalence of abortion of around of 34%; it describes abortion practices and the social representation of what abortion means in a given context. The studies presented here seek to contribute to the understanding of women's decision-making regarding this reproductive choice in a context where abortion is illegal. The data allow us to construct an abortion typology, classifying it as tolerated, unacceptable and recommended and point to a fluidity of meanings regarding pregnancy interruption practices. It is possible to infer that the magnitude of the problem of abortion, both with regard to number of cases and the existing diversity of abortion practices and methods, has not changed over a period of 20 years in Brazil.

Keywords : Induced abortion; Ethnography; Misoprostol.

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