Qual Study in Istanbul – Katrina A. Macfarlane, et al.

MacFarlane, K.A., O’Neil, M.L., Tekdemir, D., & Foster, A.M. (2017). “It was as if society didn’t want a woman to get an abortion”: A qualitative study in Istanbul, Turkey. Contraception, 95, 154-160.


This article points to the strength of narrative work in studying abortion. Allowing their participants voices to speak to their own experiences, this article shines light on many struggles people in turkey go through in obtaining abortion care. Many of these struggles correlate to those faced by people in both the United States and Poland (Zuk & Zuk, 2017). One particularly interesting finding discussed in this study is that many of the participants who obtained their abortion in public clinics cited negative experiences due to the clinicians’ perpetuation of abortion stigma. Also, the study makes the connection between Turkish society’s views on women having premarital sex and their need not to be pregnant out of wedlock. This pregnancy paradox (where a woman is stigmatized for either being pregnant in societally unacceptable circumstances or ending the pregnancy) was discussed by several participants.

The article also includes very useful information related to the availability of abortion in Turkey and general facts/statistics regarding maternity and abortion. One striking statistic is that 53% of all maternal deaths in Turkey were due to unsafe/illegal abortion by 1959. After abortion was legalized, however, the number of maternal deaths dropped from 251 per 100,000 live births (in 1980) to 121 per 100,000 (in 1990).