The Determinance Of Induced Abortion Among Undergraduate Students (A Study Of University Of Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria)

Sex Education Project and Seminar Material

The Determinance Of Induced Abortion Among Undergraduate Students (A Study Of University Of Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria)


Abortion is a wide issue and the major concern in most of the discussion on abortion 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 specialist) is safe for the woman. Abortion is accepted and also rejected by different societies and people indulge in abortion for a lot of reasons. some indulge in abortion so that they can complete their education, some because of the fear of having a child outside wedlock while others indulge in abortion to avoid be labelled by the society as “loose”. The cross-sectional survey is the one adopted in this study and the sample size of this study is one hundred and seventy (170) possible respondents.

The questionnaire was used for the collection of primary data. This study is divided into five (5) chapters, the first chapter is the introduction, the second chapter is the literature review, the third chapter is the methodology, the fourth chapter is the data presentation and data analysis and the fifth chapter is the summary, conclusion and recommendation. This study seeks to identify those factors that tend to induce abortion among female university students with focus on the University of Calabar. This study is beneficial to all categories of women, female students and the society at large. This study also identifies how abortion affects the society at large.

Table of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content
  • List of tables

Chapter One


  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Research questions
  • 1.4 Objective of the study
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Definition of terms

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • 2.1 History and origin of abortion
  • 2.2 Forms and nature of Abortion
  • 2.3 Methods and risk of abortion
  • 2.4 Factors contributing to abortion
  • 2.5 Society, socio-cultural factors and abortion
  • 2.6 Review of related theories
  • 2.7 Theoretical framework
  • 2.8 Study Hypotheses

Chapter Three


  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Study Area
  • 3.3 Population of the study
  • 3.4 Sample Size
  • 3.5 Sampling Technique
  • 3.6 Instruments for Data collection
  • 3.7 Methods of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

Data Presentation And Data Analysis

  • 4.1 Socio demographic characteristics of the respondents (uni-variate analysis)
  • 4.2 Characteristics in the general knowledge of abortion
  • 4.3 Characteristics on reasons or causes of abortion

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • Reference
  • Appendix I
  • Appendix II

List Of Tables

  • Table 4.1: Distribution of Questionnaire
  • Table 4.2: Percentage distribution of respondents by age
  • Table 4.3: Percentage distribution of respondents by sex
  • Table 4.4: Percentage distribution of respondents by religion
  • Table 4.5: Percentage distribution of respondents by ethnic background
  • Table 4.6: Percentage distribution of respondents by marital status
  • Table 4.7:Percentage distribution of respondents by faculty
  • Table 4.8:Percentage distribution of respondents by their level
  • Table 4.9: Percentage distribution of respondents by methods of abortion they are aware of
  • Table 4.10: Percentage distribution of respondents by whether they support abortion among students-
  • Table 4.11: Percentage distribution of respondents who supported abortion by which abortion method they support
  • Table 4.12: Percentage distribution of female respondents on whether they have ever been pregnant
  • Table 4.13: Percentage distribution of male respondents on whether they gave ever gotten a girl pregnant
  • Table 4.14: Percentage distribution of respondents on whether they have been directly or indirectly involved in abortion procurement
  • Table 4.15: Percentage distribution of respondents by whether they would recommend abortion to other students or anyone
  • Table 4.16: Percentage distribution of respondents on whether they think students procure abortion regularly
  • Table 4.17: Percentage distribution of respondents on whether they believe that female students who get pregnant unexpectedly would terminate their pregnancy in order to complete their education
  • Table 14.8: Percentage distribution of respondents by whether they believe that stigma associated with carrying unwanted pregnancy encourages individuals to terminate it
  • Table 4.23: Distribution of respondents by their response what ground they would procure an abortion i.e. medical, economic or educational (Reference Question 24 and 17)
  • Table 4.24: Distribution of respondents by sex on whether stigma associated with unwanted pregnancy can lead individuals to terminate the pregnancy(Reference Question 26 and 3)
  • Table 4.25: Distribution of Respondents by Age on whether fear of becoming a mother at a tender age leads to the desire to terminate unwanted pregnancy.( Reference Question 27 and 4)

Chapter One


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 (
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.

  1. To preserve the life or physical or mental well-being of the mother.
  2. To prevent the completion of a pregnancy that has resulted from rape or incest.
  3. To prevent the birth of a child with serious deformity or genetic abnormality.
  4. 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.

  1. To complete her education,
  2. To avoid becoming a mother prematurely, as well as the responsibility attached to it,
  3. To avoid being negatively labelled by the society has been “loose”
  4. 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:

  1. To identify the negative effect or disadvantages associated with involvement on abortion.
  2. To determine how abortion affect the society at large.
  3. To suggest means or possible ways to prevent or reduce the negative effect caused by abortion among undergraduate students.
  4. 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.

Theoretical 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.

Practical Significance

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

1. Abortion:

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 (

3. Pregnancy:

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 in humans is all about 280 days, equal to a calendar month (

4. Miscarriage

This is the spontaneous and of a pregnancy before fatal vivacity (the stage of potential independent survival)

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This study seeks to identify those factors that tend to induce abortion among female University students or undergraduates in Nigeria. It seeks closely and precisely those factors that tend to motivate or influence individual undergraduate students to indulge in abortion practice. The issue of abortion is a Universal Phenomenon which has gained worldwide attention. Various variables have been identified to posses over bearing influence on this issue of abortion practice among individuals all over the world.

All this has equally been established to be directly or indirectly related to medical factors, socio-economic factors and socio-Cultural factors. Therefore it is established that relationship exists between abortion and factors listed above. Hence, to effect an investigation into this relationship, a study of the University of Calabar Students (Undergraduates – both male and female), was carried out.

Previous relevant and appropriate literature and works on the subject matter are critically examined and received. Among the relevant works reviewed are Adepoju (1991), Alimson (2001), Bankole and Adebayo (1999), Barreto (1992), Edjah (1999), Fagbemi (2001), George (2004), Gluion (1985), Henshaw et al (1999), Lucas (1985), Norton and Walls (1983) and others were examined and received. The review of relevant literature provided the necessary background and platform for the proper understanding and direction of the study.

The review of literature is followed by application of appropriate theoretical framework. Those theories describing and examining the phenomenon of unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion were highlighted with the view of drawing a relationship between the variables involved. Hence, “theory of reasoned action”, “the health belief model”, “the social cognitive theory”, and “the protection motivation theory” were critically highlighted and adopted. These theories have significantly sought to give explanations to variables that make up or continue behavioral pattern towards sexual activities, unwanted pregnancies and abortion. The application of appropriate theories led to the formulation of research hypothesis.

5.2 Conclusion

This study has shown that certain social, economic and cultural factors can lead to induced abortion among individuals. This was ascertained through a study conducted among the University of Calabar, Cross River State students. This study shows that these factors presented themselves in number of ways to influence individual’s behaviour pattern in a particular way. Thus is apparent therefore that induced abortion is the outcome of various factors that are likely to constitute social, economic, cultural, religious, etc. problems for the individuals. It is apparent therefore that the intention to terminate unwanted pregnancy is dependent on certain possible outcome of keeping the pregnancy that may jeopardize the social, economic and cultural life of the individual.

In general therefore, the conclusion derivable from this study is that induced abortion is usually motivated by factors likely to constitute constraint on the individual behaviour pattern in relation to the large society. These include the individual being financially constrained; being labelled loose, being stigmatized, being unable to cope with responsibility alone, being rejected by parents etc, in this regard, and induced abortion seems to be the on only alternative to avoid all these negativity.

5.3 Recommendation

This study has identified that certain factors tend to influence individuals to indulge in induced abortion. The study has further shown that these variables (economic, Social, Cultural, religious) associated with upholding societal values influences individual intention to indulge in abortion.

This translates to mean that socio-economic factors portend significant and overbearing effect on induced abortion. This means that those who indulge in abortion do so to avoid certain unpleasant future experiences. In this aspect therefore, the following recommendations suffice.

First, it is important that the issue of abortion should be seen as a very critical issue that should be treated with utmost importance. In this wise, one would expect that the government would make available means by which induced abortion could be effectively handled. This becomes necessary so as to safeguard the life of the individual involved.

Secondly, abortion seems very inevitable as long as necessary precautions are being neglected. In this connection, it is suggested that individuals indulging in abortion practice should endeavour to ensure that necessary measures are taken to avoid negative health effect that may follow such action.

Thirdly, individuals indulging in induced abortion should equally endeavour to seek appropriate medical means. In this regard, they should hesitate to consult qualified medical personnel that will take necessary medical examination and recommend them most appropriate methods.

Fourthly, since it is established that for certain reasons abortion seems relevant, it is therefore important to suggest that each tertiary institution should ensure that its medical outfit or unit is well equipped to handle such situations.

Lastly, undergraduates should be educated in the area of preventive and reproductive health matters. This will enable them to have adequate knowledge and understanding of steps to take when unwanted pregnancy suffice. More importantly, it will also provide them the opportunity to avoid falling victims to quack medical practitioners.

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