Therapeutic abortion in Nicaragua and El Salvador : a comparative study of this policy and its influence on maternal mortality and the UN Millennium Development Goals


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Fakultet for samfunnsfag

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Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy


The total prohibition on therapeutic abortion is an issue that prevents the delivery of quality medical care to women that are pregnant. Subsequent maternal mortality is one of the outcomes on this policy. The aim of this literature review is to address and explore how this ban on abortion will influence maternal mortality. There are two research questions: 1. How has the total ban on therapeutic abortion affected Maternal Mortality in El Salvador and Nicaragua? 2. How will the total ban on therapeutic abortion influence the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals for 2015 in Nicaragua and El Salvador, specifically MDG target number 5 for improving maternal health? The methodological approach of this thesis is qualitative by a literature review of academic documents dealing with the topic before and after the legislation on abortion changed. The thesis was constructed with primary and secondary sources that were read and analyzed critically then they were compared within the country and between them. The core findings were that maternal mortality was not affected by the prohibition on abortion, in addition it has been reduced on both countries, but it is still high compared to other nations. The legislation on abortion, among others, is one of the causes of maternal mortality. The United Nations Millennium Development Goal five was achieved by El Salvador, according to the government, while in Nicaragua the progress towards it remains slow. Within each of these categories there are similarities, differences and ongoing debates, since abortion, either therapeutic or not, is still a controversial issue in many countries.


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