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Exploring women’s experiences of ‘late termination of pregnancy’ and ‘feticide’ when an antenatal diagnosis of severe foetal abnormality has been made

This project aims to understand women’s experiences of ‘feticide’ and health care providers’ perceptions regarding women’s experiences. Research of such a sensitive nature is undertaken with the highest ethical standards and procedures. 

Delayed access to antenatal services in South African public healthcare, as well as certain diagnoses being dependent upon advanced fetal development, lead to many women undergoing LTOP where the fetus has been diagnosed with an congenital abnormality that is incompatible with life. ‘Feticide’ must take place prior to terminating the pregnancy, once the fetus has reached viability (approx. 24 weeks’ gestation). This entails arresting the foetal heartbeat prior to labour.

Issues surrounding silencing, stigma and power dynamics between women and the medical system are prominent aspects explored, as well as the issue of choice and the nature of decision-making in limited resource contexts.

In order to hear participant voices as clearly as possible, the social constructionist grounded theory methodology is applied to the study, while a feminist lens including intersectionality and the pregnancy supportability model (Macleod, 2019) are used to create a theoretical understanding of the data.

We hope to use this research to inform health systems in the best interests of women and to encourage the destigmatisation of a common medical procedure.

Researchers

Angie Vorster

Last Modified: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 09:42:59 SAST