Abortion and reproductive health in Eurasia: Continuity and change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The post-Soviet era is marked by an expanded familiarity with, and access to, modern contraceptive methods across post-Soviet Eurasia. This trend represents a meaningful improvement in women’s health and agency. Family planning programs across Eurasia, often funded through international organizations, are associated with marked increases in the rates of contraceptive use, declining abortion reliance, enhanced attention to child spacing, and declining fertility rates. This chapter explores how the expansion of reproductive health knowledge has reached women, and the extent to which increased access to contraception has provided women with broader independent personal choices in terms of reproduction. Focusing on countries’ experiences in Central Asia and the Caucasus in a time of resurging ethnic-traditionalism, I examine the persistence of early first births, debates concerning the use of sex-selective abortion, and reports of coercive state programs of sterilization. The effects of rising nationalistic pronatalism, gender norms, and persistent state interventions into population growth in Central Asia and the Caucasus influence the relationship between changes in reproductive health and women’s status and health. Studying this region should lead scholars to re-evaluate the consensus that there is a positive relationship between reproductive health efforts and agency.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia
EditorsKatalin Fábián, Janet Elise Johnson, Mara Lazda
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781138347762
ISBN (Print)9781138347755
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks of Gender and Sexuality


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