ABORTION AS A CAUSATIVE FACTOR TO THE INCREASE IN MORTALITY RATE AMONG ADOLESCENTS
Background of the Study
Abortion is a relatively used term. It is the word used to describe the act of termination or destruction of a pregnancy. It could also mean a plan or arrangement, which goes wrong before it can develop properly or termination of a pregnancy of a woman before it reaches full term. Abortion as we are concerned with in this study is the act of stopping the development of a child inside a woman especially by a medical operation (Okonofua, 2001). Many of the teenage girls engage in an unsafe abortion without the help of a medical doctor without considering the effects that this abortion will have on them.
Vanrell (1986) abortion is an age-old practice. It was universally practiced but was not universally accepted. It was seen as a social evil, one that brought down the curse of the gods. The evil notion that the primitive people had about abortion was so profound that it was believed in some tribes that is a woman who has just procure an abortion could cause a man to be sterile and that abortion can also disrupt the balance of nature. The reasons above did not stop the practice of abortion among primitive people. A woman in the olden days would rather have their child terminated, rather than raised in slavery. Pregnancy involving members of the same family were aborted because it was seen as a taboo, lactating woman who became pregnant was aborted to ensure the flow of milk for the new baby.
Primitive man used crude, traumatic and ineffective means to terminate pregnancy and most of the victims died. Today, abortion continues to be practiced whether forbidden or accepted for a variety of social, political, economic and religious reasons that are not completely different from those given by the primitive man. Over the years man has improved in science and technology and has been able to tackle problems more effectively than the primitive man. Man has been able to eradicate a lot of diseases from the planet of the earth, has invented easier and faster means of cooking, transportation and lives in better environment than the primitive man. If modern man has been able to visit the moon, invent airplanes and eradicate a lot of diseases from the face of the earth, is seen as less primitive, than why is he still very primitive in the way he solves the problem of unwanted pregnancies.
Abortion is seen by many people in the world today, as immoral, an act that calls for punishment from both God and man. Many others still see it as a means of regulating the population and balancing the socio-economic need of the family. According to Myles (1990) abortion is a life threatening issue one that has claimed the lives of thousand of young women and girls all over the world. It is an issue that concerns everyone in the society, no matter what your stand on abortion is? Abortion is one of the most explosive issues of the decade, igniting, raging debates in political, social, medical and theological fields all over the world. For instance, let us consider the state of a confused young girl of fifteen years who gets pregnant and she desperate for a solution because she is unable to face the consequences of being pregnant at fifteen. This young girl may not even know who is responsible for a pregnancy, and even know that she is pregnant until obvious signs of pregnancy (protruding abdomen) being to show. This young girl then discovers she is pregnant and decides to procure an abortion either on her own or with the aid of someone.
The image is frightening that a young girl of such a tender age, both physically and emotionally immature finds herself on an operating room where she gives up her body and her life to the sharp instrument of the abortionist. On the other hand, this young girl may decide to procure the abortion herself or she may find herself in the hand of other quacks such as peers, native doctors, nurses and other paramedical quacks. If after the abortion, this young girl dies or she survives with severe complications either as a result of self procured abortion or that carried out by a qualified abortionist and other quacks. Who is to be blamed for her death? Is it her parents, teachers, school friends, the young girl herself, the abortionist or the society as a whole? The argument on who is responsible is endless but the heart of the matters is that when death of this nature occurs, it is time to reflect on the abortion problem to find out what it is that makes these young girls who are still children procure abortion. The plight of these young teenagers is pitiable, they have been exposed to sexual intercourse at a very tender age, they may have indulged in sex without being aware of the consequences of her action, an action which in fact speaks of their innocence and ignorance.
Again, these young girls may have been lured into sex by their peers, older members of the community, who, in seeking pleasure, may deceive these young girls to engage in pre-marital sex. These teenage girls that find themselves in a state of ignominy as a result of their ignominious behaviour, and in an attempt to get out of this state, they give themselves up for abortion, which makes their cases even more pathetic because abortion which they see as their saviour is what destroys their lives, wombs and bodies, leaving them with a feeling of guilt and putting them into an emotionally unstable state. Many of these young girls are lured into committing abortion by their peers. Thousands and something has to be done to remedy the situation. Okonofua (2001) therefore, these teenage girls should be educated in every way on the various complications associated with induced abortion.
Statement of Problem
Despite the fact that a large number of women die everyday all over the world as a result of abortion, the practice is still increasing. It is a world growing problem and the rate at which is procured earned it the name:
The Abortion Epidemic: Okonofua (2001) stated that between twenty-six and fifty-three million abortions are carried out annually all over the world. In developing countries, abortions are increasing fast and practical steps to deal with the situation are urgently needed. The wastage of human beings through abortion in the past hundred years by far out-number the wastage of human beings due to all world wars in the same period. The wasted lives in the Nigerian/Biafran Civil War is far less than the wastage of human beings by abortion monthly.
Abortion complication accounts for seventy-two percent of all deaths among young girls under the age of nineteen (Okonofua, 2001). Therefore most teenage girls dies as a result of illegal abortion. Despite the high death rate from abortion in Nigeria, many of our young girls still procure abortions. Families have experienced the trauma of loosing a child, marriages have been broken, because some young girls become barren before marriage as a result of abortion. If the victims of abortion are not the only one who suffer the effects of abortion, then why is the society not getting involved in bringing a solution to the problem of abortion.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to enlighten the Nigerian people especially young girls on the dangers and complication of abortion. Also, to bring to the public, case of young girls who have paid the price of abortion in terms of physical health and emotional anguish. Also, to make recommendations based on findings and suggestions from religious leaders, doctors, teachers, students and other members of the society as to what is the best solution to the abortion problem.
Significant of the Study
The importance of the study is to create public awareness on the dangers of abortion and make necessary recommendations as to what is the alternative help to abortion. Also, as a way of discouraging young girls from procuring abortion and would also help the government in solving the problem.
1. Do teenagers resort to abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy?
2. Is abortion a reason for the increased mortality rate among adolescents?
3. Do adolescents who engage in abortion have any chance of survival?
4. Does peer pressure lead to the increase of abortion among adolescent in the society?