There is a very liberal abortion law in Ghana. This is because the government understands that abortion complications contribute to maternal morbidity and mortality. The researchers sought to understand why young women seeking an abortion in a legally enabling environment chose to do this outside the formal healthcare system.

Researchers interviewed a total of eighteen women seeking care for complications from a self-induced abortion and eleven seeking care for an elective abortion. There were eight focus groups included in the study. Two focus groups were with men and six with women. Women self-induce are abortion is illegal attitudes of the healthcare workers; keeping the pregnancy a secret; and social network influence. The researchers identified a meta-theme of normalization of self-inducing’ an abortion.

Women who face an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy consult individuals who have dealt with a similar situation in their social network. Misoprostol is widely available and is successful at inducing an abortion for many women. Self-inducing abortions using medication procured from pharmacists and chemical sellers has become normalized for women.