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Young people’s perceptions about abortion in Southwest Nigeria: Findings from formative audience research

Sciprofile linkOlujide Arije, Temitope Ojo, Rachel Titus, Oluwatoyin Alaba, Abiodun Adegbenro, Fatou Jah, Scott Connolly, Adedeji Onayade
Published: 10 March 2020
AAS Open Research , Volume 3; doi:10.12688/aasopenres.13047.1

Abstract: Background: Community dialogue around abortion in Nigeria often revolves around legality and morality. Termination of pregnancy is a criminal offense except in instances where the mother’s health is in jeopardy. Young people bear a huge burden of adverse outcomes from induced abortions in Nigeria therefore viable interventions are needed. This study explored adolescents and young people’s perceptions about abortion in three selected states in southwest Nigeria. Methods: This study is part of larger formative audience research (FAR) to gather information about the lives of married and unmarried adolescents and young persons in the study area to support the development of understandable, high-quality, and culturally appropriate radio serial dramas in the local language (Yoruba). We conducted 16 focus group discussion sessions that included questions on abortion among eligible male and female participants aged 15 – 25 years. This section of the discussion guide on abortion consisted of a set of open‐ended questions posed concerning the vignette of a young girl who was seeking to terminate a pregnancy. All discussions where transcribed verbatim and analyzed by thematic content analysis using ATLAS.ti 8 software. Results: Young people indicated that the general public looks unfavorably on abortion. However, personal opinions were likely to be based on whether the person was directly involved, as female participants were more open to the issue than males. Some female participants also indicated that compared with adults, young people had greater negative experiences when procuring abortion ranging from higher cost to stigmatization. Conclusions: In a background of restrictive abortion laws, negative societal perceptions about abortion and adverse outcomes associated with illegal abortion, young people are the most at risk of the harmful outcomes of procuring abortion in Nigeria. More innovative approaches are required to promote healthy sexual and reproductive health (SRH) among young people in Nigeria.
Keywords: abortion / adults / Young / Nigeria / termination / Males / adverse outcomes / viable / Terminate A Pregnancy

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