Induced Abortion, Pregnancy Loss and Domestic Violence

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A new paper, published this week in BMC Public Health, explores the relationship between pregnancy loss and domestic violence in Tanzania, finding that intimate partner violence may also lead to poorer reproductive health outcomes for women.


Stockl et al. write:

The results of this study clearly show that physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence is a more important factor in understanding induced abortion and pregnancy loss than women’s age, most socio-economic status variables and number of live born children. The significant association between induced abortion and sexual intimate partner violence, in conjunction with most induced abortions undertaken in Tanzania being illegal and therefore likely to be unsafe, suggests that sexual intimate partner violence may have serious reproductive health implications for women beyond significant psychological distress…


This study provides previously unavailable population-level data on induced abortion and pregnancy loss and its association with intimate partner violence among representative samples of Tanzanian women. Its findings have implications for future research and service planning, since few studies and maternal health and family planning services currently consider intimate partner violence as an important contributing factor for pregnancy loss.


The findings suggest that preventing physical and sexual intimate partner violence has potential to improve maternal health and pregnancy outcomes.