Exploring the abortion experiences of Punjabi women in Ontario
Awarded 2015
Trainee Grants
Prabjyot Chahil, BHSc
University of Ottawa

Objectives: To date, there has been no research on the abortion experiences of Punjabi women in Canada. Based on registry data, available research focuses solely on sex-selective abortion in immigrant populations. Our study aimed to explore and give voice to Punjabi women’s abortion experience in Ontario (ON) and British Columbia (BC). Methods: We conducted four in-depth interviews with Punjabi women living in the study provinces at time of the abortion. These interviews explored participants’ backgrounds, experience(s) with abortion, opinions on sex-selective abortion, and ideas as to how services could be improved for Punjabi women. We also conducted three key informant interviews with health professionals involved with abortion provision in these provinces. We analyzed our data for content and themes and contextualized the experiences of Punjabi participants within a larger study of women’s abortion experiences in BC (n=30) and Ontario (n=71). Results: The in-depth interview results indicated that the abortion experiences of Punjabi women were similar to Canadian women in general. None of the participants had undergone abortion for sex-selective purposes. Key informants had varied experiences providing abortion care to the Punjabi population. All of the key informants indicated a need for resources to overcome language barriers for newcomer Punjabi women seeking abortion services. Conclusion: Due to the small sample of participants, we did not reach thematic saturation. However, our results suggest Punjabi women face the same access barriers are other women in BC and Ontario. This study serves as a starting point for further research with South Asian communities in Canada.