Abortions in Pakistan are considered taboo
Pakistani healthcare providers are biased towards women who want or need abortions
Safe abortions in Pakistan are limited and conflicting
The dire need for a psychometric scale to assess attitudes towards safe abortions in Pakistan
Disclaimer: WOW360 has shared this research after permission from the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association. All facts stated have been taken from the research abstract from JPMA.
Abortions in Pakistan are considered taboo for a number of reasons, including religious and cultural beliefs, a lack of access to accurate information about reproductive health and contraception, and social stigma surrounding sexual activity outside of marriage.
Additionally, the country’s laws regarding abortion are restrictive, with the procedure only being legally allowed in cases where the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. This can make it difficult for women to access safe and legal abortion services.
Due to the frowned-upon concept of getting pregnant before marriage, and because people think abortion is equivalent to murder, which is considered unacceptable in several religions. The attitude many healthcare practitioners have towards abortions in Pakistan is hostile.
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Development & Validation of Psychometric Scale to Assess Attitudes Towards Safe Abortions in Pakistan
A research abstract taken from the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association talks about how women face negative reactions when it comes to safe abortions in Pakistan. The research also reads that no psychometric tool has yet been validated for assessing the attitude towards safe abortions.
Furthermore, only a handful of studies have been conducted that have attempted to assess healthcare providers’ attitudes towards safe abortions in Pakistan. Reportedly, the study collected data from 106 workers associated with an NGO that provide safe abortions through online anonymous surveys on the organisation’s network.
Moreover, the report also states that Pakistan is a country with a high fertility rate of 3.6 and only 25% of the population uses modern contraceptive methods. On the other hand, Pakistan is also marred with one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies in the world at 93 per 1,000 women aged 15-49. As a result, 4.4mn annual unintended pregnancies out of which 54% are resolved through unsafe abortions.
The research further states that the above-mentioned unsafe abortions in Pakistan are carried out in poor conditions, using un-clean tools and in an unclean area which can lead to high chances of infections and other dangerous health hazards. As per the Pakistan Penal Code 1948, an abortion can be legally sought and performed on the female to save her life or provide ‘necessary treatment’. However, the statement leaves a lot of grey areas for restrictive interpretation by healthcare providers as well as the patient in question.
Pakistani women are often very scared to approach healthcare professionals because of their beliefs or having a deep fear of being labelled as we have often seen. If the healthcare practitioner refuses to carry out the abortion to which the woman is entitled, and if the refusal of the procedure leads to the loss of life or further complications, this makes matters all the more worse.
The material adds that an accurate assessment of attitude is crucial and extremely critical to provide patients with positive care. Moreover, since there is no psychometric scale to measure this factor, an existing scale has been adapted and redefined according to the researchers.
Conclusion to Safe Abortions in Pakistan
In conclusion, it was found that the scale that was developed has reduced measurement bias. On the other hand, it confirms the hierarchical factor that indicates the scores of the scales that sum up to create a composite variable for attitudes towards safe abortions in Pakistan.
Moreover, this research suggests that Value Clarification and Attitude Transformation programs can be developed and tailored to provide safer options. However, the implementation of it is as important as studying these options and the data they provide.
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