Global health anthropology
NRC-NORGLOBAL Research Project 2016-19


Contemporary discourses on fertility control and abortion in Tanzania: Competition, intersections and coexistence

Main content

Post-doctoral project: In Tanzania just like in other parts of the world discussions about fertility control and abortion are rife with controversies. Different actors strive to influence practices related to fertility control and abortion in the country. The discourses around these reproductive practices are largely centred on development and public health consequences of fertility on the one hand, and moral implications of both fertility control and abortion on the other hand. In practice, the discourses are inscribed in the operational policy and legal documents, and increasingly articulated through diverse (social) spaces like the (social)media, religious organizations, court rooms, and campaigns by NGOs.

Although a differentiated understanding of the interplay between diverse and often competing discourses on fertility control and abortion is critical in informing efforts towards improving the reproductive health of girls and women, little is known about the intersections and coexistence between competing discourses on fertility control and abortion. This study aims at exploring the interplay/intersections between diverse discourses on fertility control and abortion in Tanzania and the implications for girls’ and women’s struggles to control their fertility and deal with unwanted pregnancy. Equally important, the study examines diverse strategies deployed by different actors in attempt to claim/negotiate relevance or/and hegemony of their respective discourse.

At the centre of this study is the question how multiple and often competing normative discourses on fertility control and abortion coexist and play out in the national policy/law and how they are negotiated by different actors?