Experiences of Brazilian Women Who Got Pregnant After Sexual Violence and Underwent Legal Abortion

Aim: To know the experiences of women who suffered sexual violence (SV), got pregnant and underwent legal abortion (LA) in a referral service in Brazil, a country with restrictive abortion laws.

Methods: An exploratory qualitative study based on semistructured interviews was conducted with women selected through purposeful sampling. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and thematic analysis of content was performed.

Results: Women aged 18-38 years old, schooling ≥ 8 years, were interviewed 1-5 years after LA. Participants reported that the pregnancy discover was despairing, the desire of abortion was immediate and the possibility of LA brought expectation and hope. Having Catholic religion, seeing the fetus or fetal parts at the moment of the expulsion and the negative reactions from some health professionals were pointed as hindering elements of this experience that hampered their emotional recovery. In the long term, they reported no regret, however, feelings of guilt and difficulties in resuming their religious practices appeared.

Conclusions: women undergoing LA of pregnancy suffer emotional impacts and revealed moral and religious sanctions. Health services should be sensitized and implement practices to ensure women's right to legal abortion in restrictive law countries.


Machado CL, Osis MJD, Makuch MY, Azevedo RCS and Fernandes A*

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