Understanding the Abortion Experiences of Young People to Inform Quality Care in Argentina, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Nigeria

April 2021


Young people face social and structural barriers when accessing abortions. High-quality, sexual and reproductive healthcare is needed; however, literature on youth-informed abortion services is limited. This study assesses accounts of youth who obtained an abortion in Argentina, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Nigeria and provides recommendations to improve person-centered aspects of abortion quality. We analyzed 48 semi-structured interviews with clients recruited from clinics, safe abortion hotlines, and patent and proprietary medicine vendors. We coded transcripts and conducted a thematic analysis. The mean age was 21 years (range 16–24), and the majority had a first trimester, medication abortion. Prominent themes included access to information; privacy; stigma associated with age or marital status; the decision-making process; and comfort and rapport with providers. Youth-centered abortion care should anticipate the distinct needs of younger clients. Supportive providers have an important role in offering a non-judgmental service that makes young clients feel comfortable and prepared.