The Moral Economy of Abortion Policy in Burkina Faso

Ouattara, F., & Storeng, K. (no date). The Moral Economy of Abortion Policy in Burkina Faso. doi:10.1080/17441692.2014.937828
TitleThe Moral Economy of Abortion Policy in Burkina Faso
AuthorsF. Ouattara, K. Storeng
AbstractAs in many African countries, in Burkina Faso induced abortion is socially censured and legally restricted, but still frequently practiced, often resulting in complications and even death. Abortion is thus both a serious public health problem and a major social issue. Based on an anthropological study, this paper analyzes how the Burkinabe State has dealt with the issue of abortion, drawing on the concept of moral economy to understand tension between the private and public/institutional spheres. The national policy is positioned in relation to international (global) policy and, as such, focuses on post-abortion care aimed at reducing maternal mortality rates. The Burkinabe government’s commitment to post-abortion care illustrates the influence of transnational policies anchored in a public health paradigm. However, instead of opening the way for a debate on the broader issue of abortion that would focus on human rights, the post-abortion care option has been used to stifle the uncomfortable political and moral debate that would arise from any societal questioning around abortion. These are the contours within which national choices contribute to the logics underlying the silence around abortion. The paper shows how the political authorities’ reticence to address the possible liberalization of abortion is an arena within which the private sphere and public space collide. In fact, the authorities’ silence around rights related to abortion, and the implicit consensus among national and international authorities on post-abortion care as a potential opening toward a debate around abortion, are moral logics.