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Contraceptive choice as risk reduction? The relevance of local violence for women’s uptake of sterilization in Colombia
Authors: Signe Svallfors
Source: Population Studies, DOI:
Topic(s): Contraception
Family planning
Reproductive health
Country: Latin American/Caribbean
Published: AUG 2021
Abstract: Altered childbearing behaviour has been observed in many settings of violent conflict, but few studies have addressed fertility control. This is the first study to investigate empirically the relationship between local conflict and uptake of sterilization, the only contraceptive method that reflects a definitive stop to childbearing. The study is based on Colombia, a middle-income, low-fertility, and long-term conflict setting. It builds on a mixed methods approach, combining survey and conflict data with expert interviews. Fixed effects regressions show that local conflict is generally associated with an increased sterilization uptake. The interviews suggest that women may opt for sterilization when reversible methods become less accessible because of ongoing violence. Since sterilization is a relatively available contraceptive option in Colombia, it may represent a risk-aversion strategy for women who have completed their fertility goals. These findings can enlighten research and programmes on fertility and family planning in humanitarian contexts.