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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy associated with the death and expulsion of a fetus from a uterus before it reaches the stage of viability. An abortion may occur spontaneously, in normal parlance it is called a miscarriage, or it may be brought on purposefully in which case it is often called an induced abortion (www.britannica.com).
The issue of abortion has attracted substantial attention in recent times in Nigeria and everywhere in the world; abortion has therefore become a global issue (Alimson, 2001). The major concern in most of the discussions on abortion and related situation draws heavily from the fact that abortion constitutes severe danger to a woman’s health, but at the same time when performed by medical specialist (i.e abortion specialists) abortions are safe for the woman, and relatively simple. Religious institutions are against the abortion process as they believe abortion is a process of committing murder and murderer are seen as sinners (Knight, 2003) Whey the society frowns at it is because of the inherent fact that if the phenomenon is not regulated it would impact negatively on the population growth and also on the welfare of women (Barreto, 1992).Abortion is therefore forbidden in many societies especially the traditional ones. The “abrupt removal” or premature termination of babies are said to be as a result of certain factors.
Most societies therefore recognize the importance of medical factors in pregnancy termination. According to the Oxford medical Dictionary, induced abortion can be performed for reasons that fall into four general categories.
i. To preserve the life or physical or mental well-being of the mother.ii. To prevent the completion of a pregnancy that has resulted from rape or incest.iii. To prevent the birth of a child with serious deformity or genetic abnormality.iv. To prevent a birth because of the age of a women, therefore, a girl whose body has not formed property for child birth, or a woman who has passed her child bearing age, as it could be dangerous for the two.
Abortions that are performed to preserve the well-being of the female or in case of rape or incest are therapeutic or justifiable abortions. Induced abortion is accepted on some countries but in other countries it is highly forbidden.
However, other factors (economic social, educational, and family size) have equally become prominent in respect to abortion or pregnancy termination. Both male and female students are supposed to be sexually responsible since a lot of student’s in today’s society are already sexually active, but females always carry the bulk of the responsibility as they are the ones who would be greatly affected by any mistake (Alimson, 2001). For instance, a female student who forget to take necessary pregnancy precautions and therefore gets pregnant may resort to an abortion for the following reasons.
i. To complete her education,ii. ii. To avoid becoming a mother prematurely, as well as the responsibility attached to it,iii. To avoid being negatively labelled by the society has been “loose”iv. Fear of having a child out of wedlock. (Almison, 2001:3).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
If an investigation or a study is carried out on the category of people that indulge in abortion, the result will definitely prove that it is adolescents and youths. The minority will be older people (especially those who have passed the age of child bearing.).Several causes have been identified as inducing abortion other than medical. The phenomenon in most countries is frowned at. In Nigeria for example the abortion Act of 1967 as amended I n 1982 states the following;
1. If the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman greater than if the pregnancy was terminated, the pregnancy should be terminated.2. If the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent impurity to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman, it should be terminated.3. If the pregnancy has not exceeded its 24th week and the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk greater than if the pregnancy were terminated of injury to the physical of mental health of the existing children of the family of the pregnant woman, it should be terminated.4. If there is substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from much physical or mental abnormality as to be serious by handicapped, the pregnancy should be terminated (George, 2004:7).
The above Act therefore permits under certain conditions, the abortion of a pregnancy. Most women we the following conditions to involve in abortion which has negative effect.
Mindful of the social stigma of having unwanted pregnancies, many young girls who become pregnant seek abortion as the only way to end unwanted pregnancies. This however, has serious health risks, which sometime leads to death to young girls. For instance, unsafe abortion results in various complications such as haemorrhage, perforation of the uterus, secondary sterify and even death. It is also obvious that unsafe abortion has a devastating health impact as measured by deaths, illnesses, injuries and the cases of emergency care (Expanding Access to safe Abortion, 1993).
Beside the risks of unsafe abortion, there are serious health risks involved child bearing as an adolescent or teenager. For instance, teenagers face greater risk of pelvic bone immaturity, prolonged labour and other wise difficult birth.
The fear of been sent out of School or dropping out of school because of unwanted pregnancy makes undergraduate students involve in abortion and in order to abort the baby, they go to quack doctors because it is cheap or they take concoctions and this either kills them or destroys their womb. Money in this case is also a problem.
George (2004) has clearly observed that about 72.5% of those involved in abortion are female students, 17.5% are unmarried women, while abort 4.3% are housewives. It is this rate that has become a problem.
Therefore, this study seeks to look at extent of determinant of induced abortion among undergraduate students, by looking at the reason why people involve in abortion and why it is still being patronized by members of the society.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study will seek answers to questions such as:
1. What are the negative effects or disadvantage associated with involvement in abortion?2. How can abortion affect the society at large?3. What are the best possible ways to prevent or reduce the negative effect caused by abortion among undergraduate students?4. What are the factors that influence female university students to get involved in abortion?
1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to identify the causes of abortion among University Students with focus on the University of Calabar. The specific objectives of the study are as follows:
i. To identify the negative effect or disadvantages associated with involvement on abortion.ii. To determine how abortion affect the society at large.iii. To suggest means or possible ways to prevent or reduce the negative effect caused by abortion among undergraduate students.iv. To examine those factors that influence female University Students to get involved in abortion.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study has both theoretical and practical significance.
This study has not been able to be addressed and reduced, the society, university authorities and policy makers should be able to make out polices that will help address the issue of abortion in the society. Seminars, exhortations, e.t.c should be organized in other to help solve the situation. People should continue to carry out study on why undergraduate female students indulge in induced abortion.
The study is therefore significant because it will be beneficial to all categories of women, female students and the society at large. This is because the understanding of the causes of abortion will enable society, university authorities and policy makers look for means to address and reduce the menace.
It will help individuals identify the negative effect or disadvantage associated with the involvement of abortion and how it affects the society at large.
Finally, this study is relevant to explain the incidence of induced abortion among youths in the society.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
This is the termination of a pregnancy associated with the death and expulsion of a fetus from a uterus before it has reached the stage of viability (in human beings, usually about the 20th week of gestation).
2. Induced Abortion
This refers to an abortion that is brought about purposefully. Abortion can be induced for medical reasons or because of an elective decision to end the pregnancy (www.factmonster.com/Encylopedia).
This is the period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus. The duration of pregnancy in23humans is all about 280 days, equal to a calendar month (www.factmoster.com/Encyclopedia).
This is the spontaneous and of a pregnancy before fatal vivacity (the stage of potential independent survival )