AN EXAMINATION OF THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF ABORTION AMONGST WOMEN OF REPRODUCTIVE AGE
1.1 Background Of The Study
Pregnancy termination, or induced abortion, is a significant public health concern in Africa  . It is defined as a pregnancy that is ended voluntarily by intervention. Despite the fact that abortion services are severely restricted in Africa, with only four of the 54 countries having relatively liberal abortion laws  . Between 2010 and 2014, 75.6 percent (95 percent confidence interval (CI): 66.4 to 81.4 percent) of abortions performed in Africa were classified as unsafe (performed by untrained practitioners or using non-recommended methods)  . Unsafe abortion has grave negative health implications, including infections and death  . According to the World Health Organization (1996), an unsafe abortion is one that is conducted by someone who lacks the essential skills or in a setting that does not meet minimum medical standards, or both. Notably, women of reproductive age account for 57% of abortions performed in Sub-Saharan Africa  , and unsafe abortion is the major cause of maternal death in this age group [4,5, 6,7] . Additionally, abortions (particularly unsafe abortions) have the potential to jeopardize women’s reproductive health and result in serious, and frequently fatal, complications. Additionally, unsafe abortions place a significant cost on women and society because to the major health repercussions that often result.
In Nigeria, the issue is aggravated further by sociocultural and religious views that consider abortion as a kind of murder, with severe consequences for providers [8,9] . These circumstances lead to women seeking clandestine abortion services from unskilled private physicians who perform operations in risky surroundings using dangerous intrusive techniques [10,11] . Regardless of Nigeria’s punitive abortion legislation, the frequency of induced abortion was estimated to be 33 per 1000 women of reproductive age in 2012 . Recently, a pooled study of Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) data from 2011–2018 revealed a 3.8 percent prevalence of married women who have ever aborted a pregnancy. While much research has been conducted on women’s knowledge, attitudes, practices, and prevalence of pregnancy termination in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Nigeria [3, 9, 12, 14] , fewer studies have examined the causes and implications of abortion among reproductive-aged women in Nigeria. As a result, this study tends to fill in the gap.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
Abortion is a relatively recent phrase. It is the word used to denote the act of termination or destruction of a pregnancy. Abortion as a main topic in this study is the act of halting the development of a child within a woman, notably via a medical surgery  . According to Charl (12), abortion is one of the most combustible problems of the decade, provoking intense arguments in political, social, medical, and religious spheres all across the globe. This is owing to the penalties that afflict reproductive-aged women who participate in abortion, particularly unsafe abortion.
Thus, unsafe abortion is of public health concern because of its catastrophic reproductive health implications and influence on mother morbidity and death. Tackling this issue will go a long way towards attaining one of the Millennium Developmental Goals, which seeks to decrease overall maternal mortality by two thirds  . Consequently, unsafe abortions may damage women’s reproductive health and lead to significant, sometimes life-threatening consequences  . Furthermore, unsafe abortions impose a high price on women and society by virtue of the catastrophic health repercussions that typically result.
In the previous decade, almost half of women aged 15–49 years in Nigeria who have experienced an undesired pregnancy have sought to get an abortion, and 10 percent succeeded. [5,7] It has been reported that the fear of societal retaliation from an out-of-wedlock pregnancy or child birth adds a great lot to making a pregnancy undesirable and perhaps terminated. However, even among married women, Adhikari et al. discovered that 41 percent of their current pregnancies were unplanned, thereby resulting to abortion. In light of the aforementioned, this research is focused on the causes and consequences of abortion among women of reproductive age.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the causes and effect of abortion among women of reproductive age. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;
- Identify the factors which causes and contribute to women engagement in abortion.
- Ascertain whether abortion causes reproductive health complication.
- Determine possible effects of abortion among women.
1.4 Research Question
The study will be guided by the following questions;
- What are the factors which causes and contribute to women engagement in abortion?
- Does abortion causes reproductive health complication?
- What are possible effects of abortion among women?
1.5 Significance Of The Study
This study will also be beneficial to the society as the results of this study will reveal the dangers of abortion, and the effect of abortion on the sexual practices among reproductive aged women(15-49) thereby encouraging parents and guardians to take actions and decisions that will better educate their youths on abortion and its accompanying dangers.
Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as literature review. This means that, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the causes and effect of abortion among women of reproductive age.
1.6 Scope Of The Study
This study is structured to generally examine the causes and effect of abortion among women of reproductive age. However, the study will further identify the factors which causes and contribute to women engagement in abortion, ascertain whether abortion causes reproductive health complication, and determine possible effects of abortion among women.
The respondents for this study will be obtained from female undergraduate in University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
1.7 Limitation Of The Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Mortality: Loss of life on a large scale.
Abortion: Termination of the pregnancy of a woman before it reaches full term.
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.