Contraceptive Choice as Risk Reduction? The importance of local violence for uptake of female sterilization in Colombia
preprintposted on 09.12.2020, 14:58 by Signe Svallfors
Altered childbearing behavior has been observed in many settings of violent conflict, but few studies have addressed fertility control. This is the first study to empirically investigate the relationship between local conflict and uptake of sterilization, the only contraceptive method that reflects a definitive stop to childbearing. It is based on the case of Colombia, a middle-income, low-fertility and long-term conflict setting. The study built on a mixed methods approach, combining survey and conflict data with expert interviews. Fixed-effects regressions show that local conflict was 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 programs on fertility and family planning in humanitarian contexts.