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Global health anthropology
NRC-NORGLOBAL Research Project 2016-19

SAFEZT

Working on the edge of the law - a qualitative study of ethical dilemmas faced by abortion providers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Research track project: In 2005 Ethiopia changed its abortion law in order to curb the high maternal mortality. Abortion is now legal if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, if the woman's health is in danger or the foetus has an incurable disease or serious deformity, and if she suffers from physical or mental deficiency including if she is under 18. A twist in the law is that the word of the woman is sufficient to qualify for safe abortion services. The objective of this study is to enhance the understanding of how abortion providers in Ethiopia interpret the law, perceive their role as gatekeepers of the law and experiences potential ethical dilemmas. The main line of enquiry is concerned with to what extent health workers experience conflicting concerns in their interaction with abortion seeking patients in terms of how to interpret the law, and how they deal with cases that fall outside the law’s indications for access to legal and safe abortion services. Addressed in this study is also how health workers religious faith and moral values is negotiated against their professional obligations and concern for women’s health. Qualitative data collection took place from March to May 2016 in Addis Ababa at different abortion providing clinics. Twenty-four in-depth interviews and 3 focus group discussions were conducted with nurses, midwifes and physicians providing abortion services. Supervisor: Ingrid Miljeteig Co-supervisor: Astrid Blystad

Fieldwork: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March-May 2016

Paper presentation:

McLean, Emily (2016) Presenting the project at Forskerlinjeseminar, 25-26 November, Voss.

McLean, Emily (2016) Working on the edge of the law: a qualitative study of ethical dilemmas faced by abortion providers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Paper presented at Medisin- og Odontologistudentenes Forskningskonferanse, Frampeik, in Bergen, 21-23 October 2016.

Poster:

McLean, Emily (2016) Poster presenting research findings from the project: "Working on the edge of the law: A qualitative study of ethical dilemmas faced by abortion providers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia." FIAPAC Conference, Improving women's journeys through abortion, 13-15 October, Lisbon.