Family planning practices and attitudes among former Soviet new immigrant women in Israel

Larissa I. Remennick, Delila Amir, Yuval Elimelech, Yliya Novikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One hundred young new immigrant women from the former U.S.S.R. now living in Israel answered a detailed semi-open questionnaire regarding their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors in fertility and birth control issues. A collective family planning profile of these women is largely in line with that of the urban population of Slavonic U.S.S.R., combining early marriage, early and low fertility, the latter achieved by both abortion and contraception. Most respondents and their partners tried to prevent unwanted pregnancies, usually starting from traditional methods and switching over time to modern ones. An IUD remained most popular contraceptive among parous women, while use of the pill, very rare in the U.S.S.R., has almost doubled upon migration, mostly among younger women. Still, they kept some misleading ideas on the pros and cons of traditional versus modern methods, suggesting lack of adequate information also upon migration. Like their ex-compatriots, our women preferred to solve their birth control problems without external professional involvement. Contrary to the expected, free abortion ideology was not universally advocated by our respondents, and most were fully aware of abortion limitations in Israel. While rationally condemning abortion in both moral and health terms, most respondents still use it, this gap between beliefs and practice being indicative of their readiness to adopt efficient contraception. This switch occurs faster in women actively involved with host society via work or studies. Younger women were found to be more flexible and advanced in their family planning practices than were older ones, while almost no differences were related to education and origin within the U.S.S.R. This exploratory study suggests that any investment into promotion of healthy fertility control practices among new immigrants will be cost-effective in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1995

Keywords

  • Israel
  • abortion
  • family planning
  • health beliefs

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