ABORTED STORIES: MATERNAL HEALTH CRISIS IN EDEN

EFENITA MAY M. TAQUEBAN
MA ANTHROPOLOGY (NOVEMBER 2010)
Department of Anthropology


Abstract

This thesis develops the ides of “accommodation-resistance” among mothers who have had induced abortion in Eden, an urban poor community in Barangay Patron de Letre, Manila. It presents their abortion narratives as bases for the study. The narratives postulate that the mothers, in dire straits of poverty, decide and act within an “accommodation-resistance nexus,” a grey area where mothers negotiate with community and family expectations, institutional demands, and what they believe is best for their children and themselves; where their sense of entitlement is conditioned and reframed. There is interplay of influence, meanings, and practices that find creative interpretation in the mother’s notions of motherhood, abortion and the world. Here, the political economy framework finds analogous translation as the “political economy of emotions”1 in the exploration of the linkages of motherhood, pregnancy, and the material conditions of the mothers. It echoes the thesis that structures, extreme poverty, deprivation, and compounded structures of violence, are powerful shapers of maternal thinking and practice. The study presents the challenge to view the mother’s choices, whether seemingly complicit or resisting, as always choices of active agents.