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Beyond ‘Family Planning’—Local Realities on Contraception and Abortion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Institute of Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, 0315 Oslo, Norway
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(11), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9110212
Received: 2 October 2020 / Revised: 14 November 2020 / Accepted: 16 November 2020 / Published: 19 November 2020
Family planning has long been promoted within international health efforts because of its potential benefits for controlling population growth, reducing poverty and maternal and child mortality, empowering women, and enhancing environmental sustainability. In Burkina Faso, the government and donor partners share a commitment to ‘family planning’, notably by increasing the low uptake of ‘modern’ contraceptive methods in the general population and reducing recourse to induced abortion, which remains legally restricted. This paper presents ethnographic findings that show the complexity of family planning within the social context of women’s lives and care-seeking trajectories. It draws on participant observation in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, and interviews with women with a wide range of reproductive experiences and providers of family planning services. First, the paper shows that women’s use of contraceptive methods and abortion is embedded in the wider social dilemmas relating to marriage, sexuality, and gendered relationships. Second, it shows that women use contraceptives to meet a variety of needs other than those promoted in public health policies. Thus, while women’s use of contraceptive methods is often equated with family planning within public health research and health policy discourse, the uses women make of them imbue them with other meanings related to social, spiritual, or aesthetic goals. View Full-Text
Keywords: women; family planning; abortion; contraception; Burkina Faso; ethnography women; family planning; abortion; contraception; Burkina Faso; ethnography
MDPI and ACS Style

Drabo, S. Beyond ‘Family Planning’—Local Realities on Contraception and Abortion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 212. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9110212

AMA Style

Drabo S. Beyond ‘Family Planning’—Local Realities on Contraception and Abortion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Social Sciences. 2020; 9(11):212. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9110212

Chicago/Turabian Style

Drabo, Seydou. 2020. "Beyond ‘Family Planning’—Local Realities on Contraception and Abortion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso" Social Sciences 9, no. 11: 212. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9110212

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