Addressing Abortion Stigma Through Service Delivery

Investigator: Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH

Location(s): Kenya; Uganda; Zambia; Ghana; India; Mexico


Developing a theory-based, validated scale to quantitatively measure women’s empowerment that reproductive health researchers can incorporate into interview assessments in a variety of research contexts. This validated instrument will be available to reproductive health researchers who could incorporate it into surveys and interview assessments in any research context. An improvement over currently available assessments, the new tool will be applicable to women in any type of sexual relationship (cohabitating or not) and to women living in a variety of gender equity contexts worldwide. It will also capture influence of other people other than the sexual partner. To the extent possible, the instrument will be brief so that it can be easily inserted into Demographic and Health Surveys and other standardized questionnaires.

The scale measures stigmatizing attitudes, beliefs, and actions at individual and community levels, to enable evaluation and stigma reduction interventions. It has been implemented in Ghana and Zambia where results will be used to develop interventions. The scale is being rolled out in  interviews and investigations in India, Mexico, Kenya, and Uganda.