The Role of Abortion in the Fertility Transition in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) during the 1990s

Factors of Fertility Change in Africa
By Agnès Guillaume


Like many African countries, Côte d’Ivoire has entered a phase of fertility transition which is particularly pronounced in urban areas. These changes are occurring in a context of low contraceptive prevalence, raising the question of the contribution of other determinants, particularly abortion, to the fertility decline.
A study conducted in Abidjan on women consulting at health centres has been used to make a detailed analysis of the methods of fertility regulation and of the link between abortion and fertility. Despite being illegal, the practice of abortion is increasingly common, particularly among young women and from the beginning of reproductive life. Contraception and abortion are sometimes complementary, with abortion being resorted to following contraceptive failure (particularly of natural methods). In some cases it seems that the experience of an abortion leads to adoption of effective methods, although this is not systematic. The data presented here show that fertility decline in Abidjan cannot be understood without taking into account the major contribution of abortion practices.

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