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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    The 'problem' of Asian women's sexuality: public discourses in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

    Simon-Kumar R

    Culture, Health and Sexuality. 2009 Jan; 11(1):1-16.

    Public health research in New Zealand views Asian health - particularly, Asian women's sexual health issues - as a priority problem. In recent years, high rates of abortion and the growing incidence of unsafe sex among younger age Asian migrants have been publicized as a health concern. Public health research implicates migrant experiences and cultural factors as responsible for these trends. Loneliness and isolation among international students, inability to communicate effectively in English and lack of knowledge of available services are highlighted as reasons for the growing sexual ill-health in the Asian population in New Zealand. Extending from these, public health measures aim at improving culture-sensitive services, including targeted education. The present paper offers a critical commentary on these accepted public health perceptions that inform policy in New Zealand. It takes a Third World feminist approach to critique dominant public health discourses on Asian women's sexuality and questions the construction of knowledges about what are 'normal' and 'pathological' sexual practices. The paper revisits the data used to describe the 'problem' of Asian sexuality and argues that in order to understand sexual practices, it is important to query the cultural lenses that are used to describe and define them.
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  2. 2

    Two thirds of Americans have misperceptions about the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion in the U.S. Public overestimates the percentage of total abortions occurring among teens and minorities. Overwhelming majority of Americans view unplanned pregnancy as a major problem in the U.S. News release.

    Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

    Menlo Park, California, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 1995 Jan 30. [3] p.

    In 1994, 2002 US adults took part in a random-sample, telephone survey designed to elicit information on the extent of public knowledge about abortion and unplanned pregnancy. The results indicated that only a third of respondents were able to estimate the number of pregnancies ending in abortion within 20% of the actual figure. More than 40% overestimated the figure by more than 10%. Women and younger adults were more likely to overestimate the figure, with the most difference occurring between the estimates offered by younger women and older men. Most respondents (60%) also incorrectly stated that adolescents account for at least half of all abortions when they actually account for only 25%. Most respondents (57%) also believed that minority women account for at least 40% of all abortions when they actually account for less than a third. Half of the respondents understood that US women have more abortions than women in other developed countries, and 49% believed the abortion rate is increasing while 42% believed it is decreasing. The rate has remained fairly stable for the past 20 years. The survey results indicate that the public considers unplanned pregnancy a major problem that has increased in the past decade.
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  3. 3

    The Kaiser Survey on Public Knowledge and Attitudes on Contraception and Unplanned Pregnancy: abortion rates.

    Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

    Menlo Park, California, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 1994. [4] p. (94-1427B-01a)

    The 1994 Kaiser Foundation Survey on Public Knowledge and Attitudes on Contraception and Unplanned Pregnancy included telephone interviews with a nationally representative, random sample of 2002 adult US men and women. This document presents the questionnaire and mean responses for the section on abortion rates. Respondents estimated that 35% of pregnancies in the US were terminated by induced abortion. 49% perceived the US abortion rate to be increasing, 41% thought it was remaining the same, and 8% believed it was decreasing. 49% of respondents considered the abortion rate to be higher in the US than in other developed countries (e.g., Canada, Great Britain, Germany), 28% thought it was about the same, and 16% considered it to be lower in the US. They estimated that 49% of US abortions involved teenagers, 46% were for low-income women, and 42% involved minority women. They further believed that 31% of all US women 12-50 years old had had an abortion. Unplanned pregnancy was viewed as a very big problem in the US by 60%, somewhat of a big problem by 30%, not a very big problem by 5%, and not a problem at all by 2%. Compared with a decade ago, the percentage of US women with unplanned pregnancies was considered much higher by 27%, higher by 42%, about the same by 20%, lower by 8%, and much lower by 1%.
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  4. 4

    Differences in public policies toward abortion. Electoral and policy context.

    Hansen SB

    In: Understanding the new politics of abortion, edited by Malcolm L. Goggin. Newbury Park, California, Sage Publications, 1993. 222-48.

    This document is the 13th chapter in a book which provides a framework for considering the "new" politics of abortion in the US (created when the Supreme Court gave states more leeway in regulating access to abortion) and the fourth of six chapters in a section devoted to an examination of state abortion policy and politics. This chapter reports on research which indicates that the proportion of women in state legislature has an effect on state abortion policy and that abortion restrictions are less likely to be implemented in states with more women elected officials. The chapter also considers whether mobilization by women contributes to a lack of relationship between policy enactment (restrictions) and policy outcomes (stable abortion rates). After reviewing the extent and reason for state differences in abortion rates and restrictions, it is noted that general support for women's rights is not necessarily linked with abortion legislation or other feminist policies. After describing six possible indicators of mobilization by women, the functional form of the relationship between the strongest indicator (the proportion of women in the state legislature) is tested against several measures of state policies affecting women. Finally, the impact of state politics and policies on state abortion rates is considered and it is found that abortion rates have remained stable despite state restrictions. State restrictions, however, may result in more women seeking out-of-state abortions. Mobilization by women has little independent impact on the enactment of policies supportive of equal rights for women but may reduce the erosion of public commitment to feminist policies. It is concluded that actual reductions in abortion rates may be achieved by increased spending on welfare and family planning rather than through restricted policies.
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  5. 5

    [Population policy acceptance among women who decided to terminate pregnancy] Prihvatanje populacione politike na individualnom nivou: zene koje namerno prekidaju trudnocu.

    Rasevic M

    STANOVNISTVO. 1995 Jan-Dec; 33(1-4):41-54.

    This paper represents a contribution to the analysis of the acceptance of population policy in the low-fertility zone of Serbia. The data analyzed were collected by means of a sample survey of...201 women under 40 selected from the Belgrade subpopulation who decided to terminate their pregnancies....The survey has shown that more or less all women, regardless of age, marital status, education, occupation or other social, psychological or cultural characteristics, resort to termination of pregnancy. Moreover, half of those who book a termination are either childless or have one child only though the survey has shown that the ideal average number of children is 2.70. (SUMMARY IN ENG) (EXCERPT)
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  6. 6

    Effects of public opinion on abortion policies and use in the American states.

    Wetstein ME; Albritton RB

    PUBLIUS: THE JOURNAL OF FEDERALISM. 1995 Fall; 25(4):91-105.

    Ample evidence exists to link public opinion and public policy in regard to health issues and abortion in the US. In order to determine the impact of policies (which reflect public preferences) on citizen behavior, research was undertaken to test the following hypotheses: 1) in the presence of public support for abortion, policy-makers will impose fewer restrictions; 2) in the presence of public support for abortion and fewer restrictions, access will be greater; 3) in the presence of public support, fewer restrictions, and improved access, more abortions will occur; and 4) the impact of public preferences on policies will retain its significance when controls are applied to socioeconomic (and metropolitan) and religious variables. Data were analyzed from a 1993 abortion survey, with the ratio of abortions/1000 live births in each state in 1992 serving as the dependent variable. State policies were ranked on a nine-point scale of restrictiveness. Public opinion was measured using 1988 and 1990 responses to National Election Series Senate Panel Studies. Access was measured according to the percentage of counties in a state with abortion providers in 1992. Regression analysis of the data resulted in qualified support of all four of the hypotheses. It was found that religious fundamentalism influences abortion attitudes whereas states with large Catholic populations show an influence of the church on public policy. Further research is warranted into the relationship which exists among public preferences, public policy, and corresponding public behavior.
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  7. 7

    Family planning in Russia in 1993-94: the role of NGOs in demonopolising population policy.

    Popov AA

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN EUROPE. 1995 Aug; 24(2):26-30.

    While official figures show a steady decline in the number of induced abortions performed annually in Russia, changes in regulations on the provision of abortion services and in the data collection system are likely responsible for the declining figures. For example, abortions performed in commercial health centers and in many state-supported medical units are not reported. Also there are no reliable figures on contraceptive usage in Russia or on other facets of family planning, and indeed Russian health care statistics in general are lacking. Thus, the 30% reduction in abortions reported from 1989 to 1993 was not accompanied by a similar increase in the use of modern contraceptives. Also, 26% of maternal mortality still results from induced abortions. However, during 1993-94, a significant amount of social attention was paid to the issue of family planning in Russia, and induced abortion was identified as a social priority and a health care problem. Also, many public groups are beginning to become involved in the formulation of a population policy in Russia. This has resulted in development of a grassroots approach instead of a hierarchical approach to FP. The most important new players in FP and population policy development are the Russian Orthodox Church with its anti-abortion lobby, commercial health care providers, new nongovernmental organizations, Western pharmaceutical companies, and international foundations and agencies. Several legislative initiatives have led to an increase in the number of officially registered sterilizations and to a proposal to remove abortion from the list of medical services covered by the state insurance program. The platform of some political parties would prohibit abortion. While the provision of FP and the problems associated with abortion have received priority attention, the concept of a human rights approach to FP is not developed in Russia. Russia completed its first demographic transition using the archaic technology of abortion and traditional contraception. A second transition will occur as the use of modern contraception instead of abortion increases.
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  8. 8

    Abortion rates in the American states: the impacts of opinion and policy on abortion utilization.

    Wetstein ME

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms International, 1993. [16], 228 p. (Order No. 9400674)

    Verification of the significant impact of public support for abortion on both abortion access and abortion rates was provided through the application of interrupted time series design, multiple regression analysis, and causal modelling techniques to survey data from the US states. National statistics fail to demonstrate a statistically significant impact on US abortion rates of 3 major policy changes: the Roe vs Wade decision, the prohibition of Medicaid funding for abortion, and the anti-abortionist Reagan-Bush presidency. On the other hand, and consistent with the trend toward state control over abortion policy, disaggregation revealed substantial policy-abortion rate correlations in most states. Attitudes toward abortion, which remain remarkably constant over time, are largely dependent (70% of variance explained) by 5 factors: percent Christian, percent Catholic, percent Mormon, percent urban, and socioeconomic status. In states where public opinion on abortion is predominantly liberal, there tend to be fewer restrictions on abortion and a greater likelihood that the state will provide Medicaid funds. In the bivariate analysis, state scores on abortion opinion accounted for 18% of the variance in the policy index. For every 1 point drop in support for abortion, there is an increase of 1 in the number of restrictions on the procedure. Higher socioeconomic status, greater metropolitan populations, and larger Catholic populations tend to produce stronger public support for abortion, while states with large Christian or Mormon populations have more conservative opinion poll findings. While Catholicism is associated with support for abortion and a larger number of abortion facilities, it is also linked to more abortion policy restrictions--a contradiction that may reflect divisions between the Church leadership and membership. There is a need for additional research on aggregate public opinion variables and their relationship with abortion policy and abortion rates, especially at the state level.
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  9. 9

    Abortion factbook. 1992 edition. Readings, trends, and state and local data to 1988.

    Henshaw SK; Van Vort J

    New York, New York, Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1992 Apr. 212 p.

    This collection of articles and statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute Abortion Provider Survey of 1987-88 and selected statistics from states and local areas in 1988 gives an overview, and focuses on abortion services, user profile, politics and public opinion, state laws, and legal developments. 40% of the world's population live in countries permitting induced abortion on request. 25% live in countries where it is allowed only when a woman's life is in danger. 26-31 million legal abortions and 10-22 million clandestine abortions were performed in the world in 1987. Abortions rates vary from a low of 5/1000 in the Netherlands to a high of 112/1000 in the Soviet Union.l Mortality averages .6/100,000 procedures in developed countries. There is a trend toward abortion liberalization. The facts in the US are that 50% of pregnancies are unintended of which 50% are terminated by abortion. 1.6 million abortions occurred in the US in 1988 and 22 million between 1973 and 1988. 3 out of 100 women 15-44 years have an abortion. The abortion rate has fluctuated from 22/1000 in 1975 to 27/1000 women 15-44 years in 1988. Among developed nations, the US has one of the higher abortion rates. 58% are <25 years and 26% are teenagers <19 years. The highest rate is among 18-19 year olds (64/1000 women). Abortion is higher among unmarried women (56%), women >40 years (44%), teenagers (41%), and nonwhite women (39%) than among all women (29%). Unmarried women are 5 times more likely than married women to have an abortion and poor women 3 times more likely than economically better off women. Nonwhite abortion is twice the white rate (57 vs. 21/1000). hispanic women are 60% more likely than non-Hispanics to have abortions. Catholic women are as likely as all women to have an abortion and 30% more likely than Protestants. Of those who have an abortion after 15 weeks most are due to delayed detection of pregnancy and finances, but 89% of abortions occur during the 1st 12 weeks. Women tend to report more than 3 reasons for an abortion: 75%, interference with work, school, or other; 66%, insufficient funds; 50%, problems in a relationship. 9 out of 10 abortions are performed in clinics or doctor's offices. Providers declined by 4% between 1985 and 1988 and geographic distribution is uneven. In 1987, 12% of abortions were paid for with public funds.
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  10. 10

    Induced abortion in Hungary today: results of a public opinion poll.

    Pongracz M

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN EUROPE. 1991 Sep; 20(2):8.

    In Hungary today there is an increased presence of abortion as a political and moral issue. The reasons are the collapse of communism and the multi-party democracy has increased peoples ability to function politically and the demographic problem of a shrinking population. Hungary has a high abortion rate and ratio compared to other European countries. In 1990 there were 36 induced abortions/1000 women aged 15 to 49 and 74/100 live births. Hungary's population has been decreasing ever since 1981. Some influential intellectuals have argued that this trend is a result of liberal abortion laws. To better understand this relationship a study was commissioned by the Hungarian Demographic Research Institute involving 1000 persons. The study proved that people think the problems of high abortion rate and ratio are higher than they actually are, yet they still think the government should not be allowed to interfere with a woman's right to choose. However many people felt that the interests of the father/spouse/partner should have some consideration. The people also feel that the government should not solve the problem by restriction the system of permission, but they should offer education and contraception.
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  11. 11

    Looking at abortion and contraception.

    Khomassuridze AG

    INTEGRATION. 1991 Sep; (29):8-15.

    This article describes the urgent need for modern family planning (FP) services and supplies in the Soviet Union, and presents the nation's high induced abortion rate as one of its most serious medical and social problems. With more than 6 million legal abortions per year, and another estimated 6 million performed illegally, the problem of induced abortion is placed on par with heart disease and cancer in the Soviet Union. Induced abortion is the primary method of birth control, responsible for terminating 2 out of 3 pregnancies. Many abortion seekers, especially those employing illegal services, suffer complications resulting in loss of ability to work or even death. The maternal mortality rate for 1988 was 43.0/10,000. Efforts to decrease the level of abortion have increased during reconstruction, and have been witness to a decline in the number of abortions by 866,000 over the period 1985-1988. Contributory factors behind this decline, as well as the decrease of the abortion ratio, are an increased contraceptive prevalence level totalling 13.7% of reproductive-age women, stabilization of the birth rate at a low level, a smaller proportion of reproductive-age women in the population, and rate reporting changes. Nonetheless, inadequate family planning services prevail in the Soviet Union. Instead of focusing upon abortion and contraception, services focus upon diagnosing and treating infertility, and offer neither FP information nor services for premarital youths. Moreover, contraceptive supplies suffer serious, ongoing shortages. Research is needed on the social, demographic, medical, and biological aspects of reproductive behavior in the Soviet Union. Regional differences, abortion law, public opinion on illegitimate pregnancy, abortion methods, health personnel training, and maternal and child health are also discussed.
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  12. 12

    Policymakers - stand up and be counted]

    Mann JT

    TEC NETWORKS. 1991 Sep; (30):1, 8-9.

    The author expresses concern over the lack of legislative interest in and support for reducing and rate and incidence of pregnancy and childbearing in the adolescent and teenage population. While experts and professionals have some of the answers needed to reduce these rates, often misinformed, ill-advised, and ignorant policymakers provide neither cooperation nor support for effective changes. Policymakers who have pledged to address the needs and social conditions of this age group, yet have failed to deliver once elected, should be removed from office. Those few who do support the interests of youths need help in the form of citizen advocacy and leadership. The reader is called upon to remain informed and abreast of local, state, and federal legislation regarding the needs of at-risk, pregnant, and parenting adolescents. Policymakers must, in turn, be educated about social factors directly contributing to the continued prevalence and incidence of teen pregnancy and childbearing. Systemic change, institutions, laws, and policies are required to better meet the needs of youths. Reasons for the decreased incidence of teen childbearing over the period 1970-88 include a decrease in the size of the adolescent population since 1988, increased use of contraception, and more abortions. In closing the Title X family planning program recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is discussed. In view of Title X's crucial and unique role in providing services to low-income women and adolescents, the reader is urged to rally in support of its reauthorization.
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  13. 13

    Family planning services delivery: Danish experience.

    Osler M; David HP; Morgall J; Rasmussen NK

    DANISH MEDICAL BULLETIN. 1990 Feb; 37(1):95-105.

    This article presents a historical and statistical explanation of the Danish family planning services delivery system. This system has evolved to accommodate the country, people and opinions that make up Denmark. The descriptions of the laws and regulations is given in a historical context and the operation of the system reflects the will of the people. Health care, including family planning is something that the Danish government gives to every Danish citizen, regardless of income. While abortion is legal it is at an unacceptably high rate. As in other Nordic countries, sex is viewed pragmatically, not morally. Sex is seen as a normal natural function, like eating or sleeping. The desire to control pregnancy is clear. 82% of women seeking abortions in Copenhagen were under 20 or over 34, unmarried or not living in a stable partner relationship, or has 2 or more children. Abortion is not a controversial issue in Denmark, it is viewed as a necessary backup to regular contraception. Sex education was practiced for years before compulsory primary school education was integrated in 1970. The article proposes solutions to the problem of the high rate of abortion: improve sex education and family planning teaching abilities for physicians, health nurses, mid-wives, teachers and social workers; revise teacher's guidelines on sex education and intensify sex education in schools; intensify information to risk groups such as teenagers and single women; organize school trips to visit family planning clinics.
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  14. 14

    Twenty one years of legal abortion.

    Munday D; Francome C; Savage W

    BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1989 May 6; 298(6682):1231-4.

    The effects of the 1967 Abortion Act, legislation which extends to women living in England, Wales, and Scotland, are reviewed. The Act was not backed by any specific allocation of money for facilities or staff within the National Health Service and the service provided has varied from district to district. Yet, the number of abortions increased rapidly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This process had slowed down by 1974, when the number of abortions dropped for the 1st time. The introduction of free contraception seems to have had an important effect; the number of abortions declined by nearly 9000 from 1973-76, and the abortion rate fell from 11.4 to 10.5/1000 women aged 15-44. The number increased in 1977 and 1978, possibly because of adverse publicity about the side effects of oral contraception (OC). The rate of abortion in Scotland, although lower than the rate in England and Wales, has risen steadily since 1969. An important effect of the 1967 Act has been to reduce the number of deaths due to illegal abortions. In the 1st decade of legal abortion, the proportion of all maternal deaths that were due to abortion dropped from 25% to 7%. The number of recorded deaths due to abortion declined from 160 during 1961-63 to 9 during 1982-84. There were 7 deaths after legal abortions during 1982-84 and 4 during 1985-87. 21 years after the passage of the Act half of all women having legal abortions pay for them. The regional differences in the provision of abortion services have persisted since 1968. The proportion of abortions performed in the 1st trimester increased from 66% in 1969 to 86% in 1987, yet the proportions of early abortions in Britain still compare poorly with other countries. In the US, women have been able to request abortion in the 1st trimester since 1974; by 1977 this led to 91% of abortions being performed in this period. Regional differences in the surgical methods persist, and there may be considerable delays between a woman asking for an abortion and the procedure being performed. A Marplan poll conducted in 1988 reported that 80% of those surveyed thought that women should have the right to choose an abortion in the 1st few months of pregnancy; 15% disagreed, and 5% did not know or did not respond. The number of women coming to Britain for abortions peaked in 1973, when 56,000 came. The rate of abortion per 1000 women in England and Wales is 14.8, a moderate figure when compared to other nations -- rates range from 5.6 in the Netherlands to 181 in the USSR.
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  15. 15

    A cross-cultural history of abortion.

    Shain RN


    Attention is directed to preindustrial and transitional societies to illustrate the great variety of techniques and conditions under which abortion is practiced. The discussion covers changes in abortion status and attitudes through time as well as past and current attitudes in the US. Abortion traditionally has been performed under 2 primary sets of circumstances: the mother (or couple) does not want the pregnancy; or, for a variety of reasons, the pregnancy is deemed unacceptable by the given society, extended family, or a specific family member, usually the husband. Most accounts of abortion deal with its voluntary practice, revealing often the lengths to which women will go to control their fertility in the absence of contraception. Yet, examples exist from both preindustrial and modern societies where the decision to have an abortion is not made by the woman alone but is influenced either wholly or in part by political or cultural factors. Women who want an abortion either have performed the procedures themselves or have sought help from community practitioners, friends, or relative. Abortion techniques are highly varied and include abortifacients, magic, mechanical methods (such as instrumentation, constriction, and insertion of foreign objects into the uterus), heat applied externally, strenuous physical activity, jolts to the body, and starvation. Although abortion is extensively and rather openly practiced in many primitive societies, few groups give it unqualified approval. Cross-culturally, the most prevalent conditions for either approving of or imposing abortion include unmarried status of the mother, adultery, ambiguous paternity, mother's poor health, lactation of the mother, consent of the father, death of the father, rape, incest, and other varieties of illegal union. In Western civilization attitdues vary and have been changing in most cases. As of mid-1982, 10% of the world's population lived in countries where abortion was prohibited under all circumstances and 18% in countries where it was permitted only to save the mother's life. Close to 2/3 of the countries in Latin America, most countries in Africa, most Muslim Countries in Asia, and the 5 European countries of Belgium, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Spain belong in these 2 categories. An additional 8% lived in countries that permitted abortion under broad medical grounds. The remaining 64% of the world's population were governed by statutes that either allowed abortion on broad social grounds, such as unmarried status of the mother and financial problems, or permitted it on demand (usually within the 1st trimester). Recent estimates of the number of abortions have ranged up to 55 million, corresponding to an abortion rate of 70/1000 women of reproductive age and to an abortion ratio of 300/1000 known pregnancies. The US liberalized its abortion policy and then subsequently added restrictions at federal, state or local levels. Abortion is 1 of the most divisive issues in the US. Opinions range from disapproval under all circumstances, even to save the mother's life, to approval for any reason, i.e., on demand.
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