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Avoiding Shame: The Ethical Context of Abortion in Ghana

Wolf Bleek
Anthropological Quarterly
Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct., 1981), pp. 203-209
DOI: 10.2307/3317235
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3317235
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Avoiding Shame: The Ethical Context of Abortion in Ghana
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Abstract

Induced abortion is considered reprehensible by Akan people in Ghana when it causes medical accidents or becomes publicly known. A secret and successful abortion, on the other hand, is approved of. This paradoxical view proves logical if we see how it is related to shame. Both childbirth and abortion are potentially shameful, but the shame of the latter can be hidden and thus avoided. The shame of an unwanted childbirth, however, will always be visible. A smooth abortion, therefore, takes away the shame of both.

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