This paper analyses the methods, techniques and support networks taken by adolescents to perform illegal abortions. It is a descriptive and cross-sectional study involving interviews with 30 adolescents who had been hospitalized for uterine curettage in two public hospitals in Teresina between June and November 2011. Informed consent was given orally, and the interviews were recorded after the confirmation of the induced abortion. The adolescents were between 14 and 17 years old, single, and predominantly lived with their parents in urban areas, had little schooling and recorded a gestational age of 12 weeks. Between 3 and 6 tablets of Cytotec were taken orally and/or vaginally by 28 (94%) adolescents, and they were rushed to the hospital due to severe cramping, vaginal bleeding or both. They either bought Cytotec alone (43%, 13), or with the help of a friend or partner (40%, 12). Cytotec was sold to them in ordinary pharmacies, by the owner (45%, 13) or clerk (55%, 55), who provided instructions for use. They went to the hospital with their mother (40%, 12) or a girl friend (30%, 9). Three (10%) adolescents developed serious complications. The study revealed that Cytotec is the main method used to perform illegal abortions among adolescents.
Adolescence; Induced abortion; Cytotec; Reproductive health; Uterine curettage