Abortion—it is for some women only! hmong women’s perceptions of abortion Academic Article uri icon


  • In this article, I explore traditional Hmong explanations about abortion and the ethnomedical knowledge and practices that pertain to it. The article derived from in-depth interviews and participant observation with the Hmong who are now living in Melbourne, Australia. Hmong women are knowledgeable about indigenous fertility control methods including abortion. However, only women who are older and have had many children to ensure the continuity of the lineage have a right to abortion. Younger women do not have this right. Women may wish to control their fertility by means of abortion, but their wishes may be constrained by a societal norm that places a great deal of pressure on women to continue producing children. In a culture that values having many children, abortion is not easily accepted because it upsets the cosmological balance of the society. This has implications for younger Hmong women who may wish to control their fertility in Australia and elsewhere.

publication date

  • March 1, 2003

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