In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), numerous studies have examined women’s choice of abortion methods and services using hospital-based data, community-based surveys and nationally representative data. Little research focuses on the factors influencing a woman’s choice of abortion provider. This study sought to identify factors that are associated with why a woman seeks abortion care services from an unsafe provider in Ghana.
We used nationally representative data of women from the 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS). Data analysis was restricted to women aged 15–49 with a recent history of induced abortion. Analyses focused on a weighted sample of 1,880. Descriptive analysis and the chi-square test were used to examine the proportion of women utilizing abortion services from unsafe providers. Factors hypothesized to affect the utilization of abortion services from unsafe providers were examined using both bivariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses.
The proportion of survey respondents who reported that they utilize abortion service from unsafe providers were 57.5%. After adjusting for confounders, those who have knowledge of abortion legality [aOR: 0.381 (0.271–0.541)] and those who have attained secondary or higher education [aOR: 0.613 (0.411–0.914)] were less likely to use abortion services from unsafe providers. On the other hand, women belonging to the Ewe ethnic group [aOR: 0.696 (0.508–0.953)], those residing in the middle belt zone [aOR: 1.743 (1.113–2.728)], younger women aged 15–29 years [aOR: 2.037 (1.234–3.362)] were more likely to use abortion services from unsafe abortion providers.
This research suggests that increasing the knowledge of women on the legal status of abortion through public education and encouraging more women to pursue secondary or higher education can contribute to reducing the use of abortion services from unsafe providers. These interventions should be targeted among younger women and those who reside in the middle belt zones of Ghana.