Male involvement in reproductive health is a global research priority. Several studies thereon have examined male inclusion in the many domains of sexual and reproductive health; however, male involvement in relation to abortion care remains a largely understudied area, more so in instances of unintended pregnancies outside wedlock.
While most often addressed as solely a woman’s concern, partner involvement in abortion decision-making is an important concern. In addition to the potential benefit for individual women, it may at a broader level improve women’s access to safe abortion and quality care. In case of an unintended pregnancy before marriage, the role played by men becomes more crucial because of the social stigma associated with pre-marital sex — particularly in a context like India — which heightens a woman’s vulnerability, isolation and alienation.
In India, most studies in relation to abortion deal with abortion rates and ratios, demographic profiles of women, contraceptive behavior and morbidity and mortality and these studies largely focus on the experiences of married women. Evidence on the vulnerability of the young and unmarried in seeking abortion in India is sparse. Overall, only a very small number of studies provide information on how abortion outside wedlock is perceived, and most of these are about women’s perceptions. With the aim of addressing this gap, this research seeks to:
- understand the factors that shape the perceptions and experiences around male involvement in abortion decision-making and care,
- identify some barriers and enablers to male involvement in abortion decision-making and care
- understand how male involvement impacts unmarried women’s access to and quality of abortion services and
- highlight some key areas/issues for further research and enquiry on male-involvement in abortion decision-making and care.
The study will use a qualitative research design involving- in-depth interviews (IDIs) with young unmarried men and women who have had an abortion, focus group discussions (FGDs) with young unmarried men and women in general and key informant interviews (KIIs) with staff working with non-governmental organizations, community based organizations and clinics that work on abortion and related care.