Why many young Nigerian women are committing abortions

Nigerian women committed 1.8 million abortions in 2017 according to a recent report. A survey conducted by the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA2020) in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation revealed this.
Suzanne Bell, a scientist at John Hopkins School of Public Health who presented the results of the survey recently said a majority of the abortions were done by young girls in secondary schools and women in their early 20s. The survey was carried out in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Nasarawa, Anambra and Taraba states.
“In 2018, PMA 2020 conducted a survey to produce updated and expanded the estimates of abortion-related indicators. The survey results provided new insights into the characteristics of women who have abortions and the pathways leading to abortion within or outside the healthcare system.”
“In Nigeria, most public tertiary facilities provided post abortion care (92 per cent) and safe abortion services to save a woman’s life (81 per cent); lower level public facilities and private facilities were much less likely to do so.”
“In 2017, the annual incidence of likely abortions in Nigeria was 41.8 per cent per 1000 women aged, 15 to 49, which is nearly 1.8 million abortions. When including information related to the experience of respondents closest confidants, the rate of likely abortions in Nigeria rose to 2.7 million.’’

Mrs Bell said women living in rural areas, women with no education and women who are poor were the most likely to have had the least safe abortion. She further said six out of 10 abortions were considered least safe and 11 per cent of women experienced complications for which they sought post abortion care at a health facility.

Why many Nigerian women commit abortions

Health implications of abortions

According to Dr. Gabriel Omonaiye, one of the health implications of abortion is Pelvic infection. Germs or bacteria from the vagina or cervix may enter the uterus during the abortion and cause an infection in the pelvic region. Dr.
Omonaiye said that another implication is heavy bleeding. He noted that some bleeding is typical after an abortion but heavy bleeding or hemorrhaging is not common and may be treated by medication or surgery.
Cut or torn cervix is another abortion risk. The opening of the uterus (cervix) may be torn because the abortionist must stretch it open to allow medical instruments to pass into the uterus during surgical abortion procedures.
Puncture or tear of the wall of the uterus is another abortion risk. Dr. Omonaiye said that “A medical instrument can cut through the wall of the uterus during a suction abortion procedure. Perforation can lead to infection, heavy bleeding or both, depending on the severity of the cut.”
He revealed that surgery may be required to repair the uterine tissue, and in serious cases, a hysterectomy which is surgical removal of the uterus may be required. “During abortion, the womb can be punctured or ruptured. The bladder can also be affected. Abortion may also lead to death while some may lead to permanent infertility, said Omonaiye.”
Psychological implication
“Women who have had an abortion have an 81 percent higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.”
Some of these women may find it difficult to conceive after marriage. Their condition may give way to psychological stress as regret of their past actions set in. These women also have a sense of loss and lots of emotional stress noted Omonaiye.
Likely figures of unreported abortions
Omonaiye said that: “In Nigeria, there is the issue of poor statistics, so the figures of women who have done abortions are higher. A lot of things go unreported because of certain factors.”
There are so many methods women use to commit abortions that are not reported. There are some cocktails they take to induce abortion.
Quite a number of abortions go unreported in Nigeria because some women visit quack doctors, native doctors and drink all manner of concoctions just to flush out their unwanted babies. Some women go for self medication and take drugs. “I believe the total figure of abortions committed last year will be higher than the figure the research got. Looking at most medical statistics, quite a number of cases are under reported, stated Omonaiye.”
Factors responsible for the rise of abortions
Dr. Omonaiye revealed that one of the factors responsible for the rise of abortions includes ignorance about family planning methods. Most teenage girls get pregnant and don’t know what to do even if they have been sexually active.
Socio cultural issue is another factor. Some people don’t like using condoms. They say they won’t enjoy sex with condoms. Another factor is broken promises. A man can tell a woman sweet things and promise her marriage while they are dating but when she becomes pregnant, he tells her that he is not ready to get married or cater for a child.
Economic issue is another factor. Many people are not ready to get married yet because of lack of job opportunities. Even some of the jobs are not paying adequately for the individuals to take care of themselves not to talk of adding children to the equation.
In some instances, some of these women are already married. They may already have the number of children they can take care of and are not ready to cater for an extra mouth. Some married men are afraid that if their wives go for family planning methods, they will become promiscuous. There is that fear among some men. They believe that by the time the woman is on family planning, she is now free and could go out and have affairs.
Most men refuse their women to go for family planning because they don’t want their women to start cheating on them because these women can’t get pregnant for their lovers.  Some men object to it because they believe that once a woman goes for family planning, she has become a prostitute.
In some parts of the country, some people don’t believe that women should plan their families. They believe that children are gifts from God and these people continue having children they can’t take care of. Omonaiye said that government agencies need to do more to educate Nigerians about the need for proper family planning.
“Our population is a ticking time bomb. Government is not doing enough to educate Nigerians on the need to plan their families and the available options they can choose from.” Omonaiye stated that family planning options should be available and made almost free so that anyone interested can walk into a hospital or a health center and get it done without problems.

Kate

I am a writer, a journalist and phenomenal woman. I don't conform to societal stereotypes. I am passionate about women and the issues that plague womanhood in this part of the world. Engage and be awakened.

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