Abortion from an Anthropological Perspective - Reproduction Politics in Cambodia


 

 

PASCALE HANCART PETITET

 

 

 

In Cambodia, despite the implementation of governmental reproductive health care activities since 1994, contraception prevalence rate remains very low. Many women undergo chemical or mechanical abortion. Indeed, abortion has been legalized in Cambodia in 1997; however there is a lack of awareness regarding the legality of abortion and a lack of provision of safe abortion services. Unsafe abortion remains one of the most common causes of maternal death. Thus, we may wonder why, how and to which extends cultural values, gender norms, social organization of care and political will to tackle the problem head-on as well as individual experiences and attitudes regarding unwanted pregnancies shape abortion practices. We will investigate those issues in cross-crossing various perspectives levels. Firstly, we will give some historical elements related to abortion legalization and policies in Cambodia. Secondly, we will analyze how social organization of care shapes legal and illegal abortion practices. Thirdly, we will describe determining factors that lead women to seek abortion. Finally, we will investigate how abortion event makes sense in their reproductive lives. Thus, our findings may raise relevant issues for public health perspective, provide mirrored views on Cambodian Contemporary Society as well as bring various theoretical insights for anthropology.

 

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