The study aimed to provide a deeper understanding of the gender-related determinants and organizational structure of primary health care that shape contraceptive use among disadvantaged women living in a developing Islamic country where family planning services are affected by health care reforms.

A qualitative study was conducted in three disadvantaged neighborhoods in district of Bornova, Izmir. A purposive sampling method with maximum diversity was used to obtain a study sample of forty-three women. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed using a coding paradigm of grounded theory.

Three themes emerged from the analysis: factors affecting participants’ number of children, experiences using contraceptive methods, and family planning services at family health centers. Despite a desire to limit their number of children and a positive view of contraception, women in the study faced gender-related barriers to accessing family planning services. Their statements indicate significant deficiencies in contraception provision and family planning consultations at family health centers.

The study concluded that for disadvantaged women living in conservative areas, family planning is a fragile exercise. Gender-sensitive primary care services are essential to ensure access to everyone in the community.