"I am ready and willing to provide the service...though my religion frowns on abortion" Ghanaian midwives mixed attitudes to abortion services: A qualitative study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2017, 14 (12). 10.3390/ijerph14121501
Background: Unsafe abortion is a major preventable public health problem and contributes to high mortality among women. Ghana has ratified international conventions to prevent unwanted pregnancies and provide safe abortion services, legally authorizing midwives to provide induced abortion services in certain circumstances. Objective: The aim of the study was to understand midwives’ readiness to be involved in legal induced abortions, should the law become less restricted in Ghana. Methods: A qualitative study design, with a topic guide for individual in-depth interviews of selected midwives, was adopted. The interviews were tape-recorded and analyzed using content analysis. Results: Participants emphasized their willingness to reduce maternal mortalities, their experiences of maternal deaths, and their passion for the health of pregnant women. Knowledge of Ghana’s abortion law was generally low. Different views were expressed regarding readiness to engage in abortion services. Some expressed it as being sinful and against their religion to assist in abortion care, whilst others felt it was good to save the lives of women. Conclusion: The midwives made it clear that unsafe abortions are common, stigmatizing and contributing to maternal mortality, issues that must be addressed. They made various suggestions to reduce this preventable tragedy.