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ABORTION LEGALIZATION AND ITS IMPACT ON SEXUAL PRACTICES OF YOUTHS: A STUDY OF FCT RESIDENTS

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ABORTION LEGALIZATION AND ITS IMPACT ON SEXUAL PRACTICES OF YOUTHS: A STUDY OF FCT RESIDENTS

 

ABSTRACT

This study was carried out on abortion legalization and its impact on sexual practices of youths: a study of FCT residents. To achieve this 3 research questions were formulated. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of selected residents of the Federal Capital Territory. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 266 residents while 259 were returned and validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using standard deviation. The result of the findings reveals that the arguments for the legalization of abortion include; criminalization of abortion does not dissuade women from having abortions, criminalization of abortion violates the fundamental human rights of women and girls, criminalization of abortion causes women to resort to unsafe abortion methods, and criminalization of abortion increases mortality and health complications caused by unsafe abortions. In regard to the findings, the study recommends that abortion though legalized, should be fully regulated. Also, youths should be made aware of the dangers of abortion.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Pregnancy is the common name for gestation in humans. It is the development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus in the uterus (Truffers, 2003). Pregnancy usually lasts for about nine (9) months in human beings. At this stage the embryo is developing offspring during the first 8 weeks following conception, and subsequently the term fetus is used until child birth. In many societies, medical or legal definitions of human pregnancy is somewhat arbitrarily divided  into three trimester periods of three months each as a means to simplify reference to the different stages of pre-natal development. The first trimester carries the highest risk of miscarriage (natural death of embryo or fetus). During the second trimester the development of the fetus can be more easily monitored and diagnosed. The third trimester is marked by further growth of the fetus and the development of fetal fat stores (Truffers, 2003).

Abortion is the expulsion of the offspring in a state of development from the womb between one to seven months of pregnancy, which is giving birth before the right time. In most cases of abortion is referred to as miscarriage of birth. Abortion should be considered as a lifesaving situation due to illness. But however it is being practice at will due to societal changes and orientations. It is a situation where life is being tempered and it is becoming too dangerous and threatening to the life of the mother.

Abortion is also a form of removing pregnancy from the womb, either by taking pills (medical abortion) which involves taking medicines to cause miscarriage or by surgery (surgical abortion) where the pregnancy is removed from the womb. Most abortions can be provided on a daycare basis which means you do not need to stay at a clinic overnight. Every year almost 12,000 thousand teenage girls have abortion (Bankole, Oye-Adeniran, Sing, Adewole, Wulf, Sedgh 2006).

Abortion consists of two types which are the PILLS and SURGICAL abortion. The pills abortion is used after 9 to 24 weeks of pregnancy which involves taking of medicines to cause the womb to contract and push out the pregnancy. Also from 22 weeks after which the pregnancy is push out and an injection to the womb is given. Such injections are given to ensure the homeostatic balance of the uterus. However a checkup visit to the clinic is also required. Surgical abortion is the dilation and evacuation of the fetus which takes up to 15 to 24 weeks of the pregnancy. In surgical abortion the doctors are required to remove the pregnancy using narrow forceps passed through the neck of the womb. This form of abortion is carried out under general anesthetic conditions (asleep). In surgical abortions, one can visit the clinic and return home the same day of abortion (for pregnancy up to 20 weeks) (Grunseit, 2007).

Abortion is obviously increasing and identified as a social problem in so many ways, it destabilizes the youths as a useful member of the society. The youth is out rightly stigmatized by the society and in the long run turns the girl into a prostitute. Another major incidence of pregnancy and abortion is the socio-cultural background of youths. This is attributed to the orientation or beliefs which subjected the girl-child to early hawking at a very tender age of about nine or ten years. These inappropriate exposures make her vulnerable as well as the deceitfulness of irresponsible young boys and old men, usually compromise with her innocence.

It is a common fact that the impact of pregnancy and abortion among the youths is spreading in our communities and this needs to be eradicated or reduced. In other words to solve this problem the parents and teachers should mould their children to be better adults. The government should introduce sex education in our secondary schools and tertiary institutions,’ and introduce relevant academic curriculum in order to reduce the cases of unwanted pregnancy.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

In Nigeria, the age at first sexual intercourse is reducing while the age at first marriage is increasing. This points to the fact that although, youths are initiating sexual activities early, they get married late. The increase in sexual activity outside of marriage has consequently increased the rate of unplanned pregnancies (Grunseit, 2007). Due to social response and stigmatization of unwedded youths pregnancy, abortion has become an option for several adolescents who get pregnant “outside wedlock”. However due to the prohibition of induced abortion in several countries, youths often procure abortion in unsafe facilities and subsequently suffer from the consequences of unsafe abortion including death. Despite the enormous burden of the consequences of unsafe abortion, countries like Nigeria still criminalize abortion thereby condemning adolescents to unsafe abortion and its consequences (Henshaw 1990). Several studies have looked at the policy aspect of legalizing abortion and the perception of the community as a whole; this study sought to understand abortion legalization and its impact on sexual practices of youths: a study of FCT residents.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The primary objective of this study is to examine and analyse abortion legalization and its impact on sexual practices of youths: a study of FCT residents. Other objectives of this study are:

To review arguments for the legalization of abortion.

To examine the perception of college female students on the legalization of abortion.

To investigate the outcome of abortion legalization on the sexual practices of youths.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions will be answered in this study

What are the arguments for the legalization of abortion?

What are the perception of college female students on abortion legalization?

What is the effect of abortion on the sexual practices among youths?

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The main purpose in embarking on this research work is to examine and analyse abortion legalization and its impact on sexual practices of youths: a study of FCT residents. The researcher will carry out this research work in order to make his contribution and recommendation to the youths on the issue of abortion.

This study will also be beneficial to the society as the results of this study will reveal the dangers of abortion, the reasons for legalizing abortion, and the effect of abortion on the sexual practices among youths thereby encouraging parents and guardians to take actions and decisions that will better educate their youths on abortion and its accompanying dangers.

Finally, this study in its entirety will be relevant for further research and contribute to knowledge body.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study will be focusing on examining and analysing abortion legalization and its impact on sexual practices of youths: a study of FCT residents. Specifically, it will also be focusing on reviewing arguments for the legalization of abortion, examining the perception of college female students on the legalization of abortion and investigating the outcome of abortion legalization on the sexual practices of youths.

Selected residents of the Federal Capital Territory will serve as enrolled participants for the survey of this study.

1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study will be limited to examining and analysing abortion legalization and its impact on sexual practices of youths: a study of FCT residents. Specifically, it will also be limited to reviewing arguments for the legalization of abortion, examining the perception of college female students on the legalization of abortion and investigating the outcome of abortion legalization on the sexual practices of youths.

Selected residents of the Federal Capital Territory will serve as enrolled participants for the survey of this study thus this will serve as a limitation to this study as further research is needed if the findings of this study is to be used in other parts of Nigeria.

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Abortion: the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Legalization: Legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is currently not legal. Legalization is a process often applied to what are regarded, by those working towards legalization, as victimless crimes

Impact: a marked effect or influence

Sexual activities: Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts, ranging from activities done alone to acts with another person in varying patterns of frequency, for a wide variety of reasons.

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