E-mail | SIS | Moodle | Helpdesk | Libraries | cuni.cz | CIS More

česky | english Log in

Popular Science: The relationship between abortion and contraception in Czechia and Slovakia

Is there a similar trend in abortions over time in Czechia and Slovakia? How is it influenced by using modern contraceptive methods? How do these states differ in the society’s attitude to abortion? Jiřina Kocourková from the Department of Demography and Geodemography of the Faculty of Science Charles University focused on these and more topics in her article.

The author used data from statistical offices of both countries, Institute of Health Information and Statistics of the Czech Republic and National Centre of Health Information in Slovakia. The data about induced abortion came from the survey European Values Study (EVS). Decomposition method was used to determine the differences between populations, and t-tests, chi-square test and binary logistic regression were used to analyze attitudes.

What are the biggest differences in the field of abortion between the two states and how are they influenced? We can see the development in the shown figure, together with the percentage of women using prescribed contraceptives. Interesting fact is that although Czechia and Slovakia constituted one state before 1993, there were significant differences. Czechia used to have a higher number of average abortions per woman; only between 1993 and 1995, Slovakia had higher rates (it was because of a different year of the introduction of a fee for induced abortion).

Then the situation became comparable, and from 1998, it is almost the same in both states. The reason of the lower rates of abortion and also the lower percentage of women using prescribed contraception in Slovakia can probably be a higher share of believers (mainly of the Roman Catholic church). On the contrary, the reason of lower rates of abortion in Czechia can be a mostly higher percentage of women using modern methods of prescribed contraception.

Picture: The development of the average number of abortions per woman and the percentage of women using prescribed contraceptives, source: author of the study.


Is there a difference between Czechs and Slovaks in the attitudes towards induced abortion? The author used the answers of European Values Study respondents in the age of 18 to 64 in both states in 1991 and 2008. In the year 1991, in the case of a couple that didn’t want to have more children, mostly people aged 30 to 49 and people who had two children agreed with the induced abortion in both states (in 2008, age of respondents neither number of children were statistically significant in Czechia; in Slovakia, the connection remained). The respondents had similar attitudes to abortion in case of an unmarried woman as in the case of a married one. In 2008, Slovaks with one or two children more strongly agreed with an induced abortion than those who had three or more children. In both questions about tolerance of induced abortion, there was a significant difference between believers and non-believers, and moreover, in Czechia there is a significant interaction of age and religious belief: young believers approved of induced abortion more frequently than older believers.

As to the relationship between induced abortion, contraception and fertility, there is an interesting situation in Slovakia. The state has at the same time a low level of fertility and of induced abortion, but also a lower percentage of using modern contraception compared to Czechia. In the Czech Republic, there has been achieved a new reproductive model based on the postponement of children to a higher age of the mothers. In Slovakia, there is a delay compared to Czechia in the formation of this reproduction model, but if there were a higher percentage of women using modern contraception, it would mean a quicker transition to the postponement of the age of having the first child.

JIŘINA KOCOURKOVÁ (2016): Relationship between abortion and contraception: a comparative sociodemographic analysis of Czech and Slovak populations. Women & Health, 56:8, 885–905.

Markéta Růžičková

Published: May 03, 2017 11:05 AM

Document Actions