Tough love: Socio-cultural explanations for deadly abortion choices among Nigerian undergraduate students
While studies on unsafe abortion practices and abortion-related deaths among young women with low socio-economic status are reported in Sub-Saharan Africa, scanty information exists on young educated women, especially university students. This study explores the perceptions of female undergraduate students concerning unplanned premarital and unwanted pregnancy, and the implications on abortion practices. The study is based on data from a mixed-method study involving a survey of 420 female students in two universities in Southwestern Nigeria, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The results showed that most participants consider unplanned pregnancy to have negative consequences on educational goal attainment as well as physical and emotional wellbeing. Parenting style, social stigma attached to premarital pregnancy and fears about the socio-economic consequences of raising a baby and dropping out of school are reasons female university students would strife to avoid pregnancy. There are dreadful underlying cultural and socioeconomic consequences of premarital unplanned pregnancy as reported by majority of the students. Individual choices about what to do about an unplanned pregnancy could be greatly influenced by these socio-cultural factors.
Keywords: Parenting style, social stigma, unsafe abortion, unplanned premarital pregnancy