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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Receiving voluntary family planning services has no relationship with the paradoxical situation of high use of contraceptives and abortion in Vietnam: a cross-sectional study

Phuong Hong Nguyen1* and Meiwita P Budiharsana2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Scientific Research and International Relationship, Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Thai Nguyen, Vietnam

2 Department of Biostatistics and Population, University of Indonesia-Faculty of Public Health, Depok, West Java, Indonesia

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BMC Women's Health 2012, 12:14  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-12-14

Published: 28 May 2012



Vietnam shows a paradoxical situation where high contraceptive prevalence goes together with high abortion rates. This study examined the associations between self-reports of having received voluntary family planning (VFP) services and induced abortions.


A cross sectional survey was conducted in Thai Nguyen province, covering a total of 1281 women. Data were derived from a sample of 935 married women aged 18–49 years who were ever-users (93.5%) and current users of contraceptives (84%), and had completed birth histories. The dependent variables were the likelihood of having an induced abortion and repeated (two or more) induced abortions. The main independent variable was having received the three VFP dimensions (counselling, broader information, and access to availability). The association was examined using multivariate logistic regressions, taking into account women’s socio-demographic characteristics.


The overall induced abortion percentage was 19.4 per 100 pregnancies. None of the three VFP dimensions was significantly associated with the odds of having an induced abortion or having repeated induced abortions. Mother’s age of 35 or older, having more than three living children, and ever used female contraception methods significantly doubled or more the odds of having an induced abortion and significantly tripled the odds of having repeated abortions.


Results indicate that women receiving VFP services were not less likely to have induced abortions. The provision of family planning counselling, information on contraceptive method mix, and management skills to ensure availability, are in need of reinforcement in a new set of policy and program strategies in the future.

Voluntary family planning (VFP); Contraceptive use; Induced abortion; Counselling; Access; Vietnam