The Challenges Procuring of Safe Abortion Care in Botswana

Stephanie Samantha Smith

Abstract

Botswana’s national healthcare system has experienced substantial investment as a result of a growing economy and stable government, and improvements in quality and access are notable. Despite these advances, women’s reproductive health continues to suffer as a result of unsafe abortion. The personal, financial, and health costs of women seeking dangerous illegal terminations, or crossing national borders to procure a legal abortion, are evident. Twenty-one in-depth, qualitative interviews with Batswana were conducted to gain some insight into the factors which make terminating an unwanted pregnancy difficult in Botswana. This small study demonstrates that there are important socio-cultural constraints, in addition to the legal barriers, that make abortion problematic. These constraints are entrenched in the wider issue of women’s rights and status in society. (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17[4]: 43-55).

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