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Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) are a range of highly effective contraceptives (intrauterine devices, injectables, and subdermal implants) for women that provide a relatively inexpensive and often discreet means of fertility control. These contraceptives have been enthusiastically promoted across the world as a solution to inconsistent short-term contraceptive use that can reduce rates of unintended pregnancies and also potentially contribute to reproductive health equity for women.

While LARCs can certainly contribute to women’s empowerment in various ways, like any contraceptives they can also be potentially oppressive. Therefore, reproductive health researchers and advocates have warned against the uncritical promotion and prescription of LARCs. They point to the ways that women’s contraceptive decision-making can be impinged upon by wide-reaching reproductive politics that target specific, often marginalised, women for fertility control; socio-structural inequities; and power differentials in clinical settings. Responding to this concern, this programme of work seeks to highlight questions of power and agency in the provision of LARC, focusing on the reproductive politics surrounding their provision in South Africa and New Zealand.

The use of international counterpoints allows for the identification of power relations that are context-specific and cross-cutting. The project has two main objectives. The first objective is to generate much-needed local data about the politics around the provision of LARC through a discursive analysis of (1) service user narratives (52 South Africa, 37 New Zealand); (2) health provider narratives (21 South Africa; 19 New Zealand); and (3) relevant documents: policy documents, protocols, brochures, textbooks and training manuals in South Africa and qualitative research in New Zealand. The second objective is to explore through data triangulation how insights from the data of both countries can extend the Reproductive Justice framework as a holistic framework for understanding reproductive health issues.


Dr Tracy Morison

Yanela Ndabula

Kudzanayi Mvududu

Last Modified: Fri, 25 Sep 2020 11:06:34 SAST