Exploring the relationship between quantified abortion stigma and abortion reporting in two demographic surveillance sites

Onikepe Owolabi, Guttmacher Institute
Clementine Rossier, University of Geneva
Moussa Zan, University of Geneva
Ramatou Ouedraogo, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Rachidatou Compaore, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé
Caron Kim, World Health Organization
Martin Bangha, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Seni Kouanda, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS)
Adama Baguiya, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé
Clement Oduor, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Sherine Athero, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Vincent Bagnoa, ISSP
Bela Ganatra, WHO

Incomplete data on induced abortion compromises researcher’s ability to conduct rigorous research on all pregnancy and fertility-related indicators. Stigma is typically cited as a major cause of individual level under-reporting of induced abortion in surveys and is thought to vary by the restrictiveness of the context women find themselves in with worse reporting in the most restrictive countries. In such contexts, there has been a recent expansion in the use of indirect survey approaches such as the confidante method to generate more valid estimates of abortion incidence and safety. Although this method yields increased reporting compared with self-report, it has been shown to have many biases with some requiring statistical adjustment to yield robust estimates. In this paper, we apply two standardized stigma scales to measure the degree of abortion-related stigma women report in a survey. We explore if different domains of stigma affect one of the most important biases of indirect survey approaches- transmission bias- by assessing its relationship with the likelihood of self-report and third-party reports of abortion. Understanding the relationship between stigma and reporting biases is important to refine the framework for measuring and adjusting for biases in survey approaches to measure abortion incidence and safety.

Keywords: Fertility and childbirth, Social network methods, Demographic and social surveys, Methodology

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 147. Measurement Issues in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research