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Exploring the abortion experiences of Punjabi women in Ontario

Prabjyot Chahil, BHSc, University of Ottawa, 2015

Project abstract

Despite the large population of Punjabi immigrants and Punjabi Canadians in Ontario, there is no research published on the reproductive health of this population. The current literature on abortion research is focused more broadly on the Indian community and is centered on the phenomenon of sex-selective abortion. However, this literature is largely speculative and based exclusively on reported male-to-female birth ratios, which do not necessarily indicate that the practice of sex-selective abortion is occurring. In the Canadian context, the debates about and media coverage of sex-selective abortion appear to be tied to larger anti-choice and anti-immigrant political agendas and focuses. To date, there has been no research published on the actual abortion experiences of South Asian women in Canada. This qualitative study aims to fill this gap and shed light on the abortion experiences of Punjabi women living in Ontario. Through in-depth interviews with Punjabi women and key informant interviews with abortion providers, this project aims to document Punjabi women’s abortion experiences in Ontario and providers’ experiences serving this population. The findings of this study will be disseminated to both clinicians and members of the Punjabi community in Ontario, in hope of documenting barriers to abortion access, identifying mechanisms for improving culturally and linguistically appropriate abortion services for this population, and informing some of the politicized debates underway on sex-selective abortion in Canada.

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