Perceptions and attitudes of a rural community to abortion in the Niger-delta region of Nigeria

Niger J Clin Pract. 2009 Dec;12(4):443-9.


Objective: To determine the perceptions and beliefs relating to unwanted pregnancy, family planning and abortion, and identify issues that can be leveraged to initiate positive attitudes towards family planning and abortion in the area.

Materials and methods: Focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) were conducted in Amukpe, Delta State, Nigeria. A highly motivated and well-trained team versed in the local language and culture conducted the FGDs and IDIs.

Results: There was unanimity that unwanted pregnancies was quite common amongst women of reproductive age group and constitute a significant problem in the community. Abortion, particularly in the hands of quacks was a major option to handling an unwanted pregnancy. Almost all agreed that their culture and religion abhors abortion, yet widely practiced because of the odium associated with an unwanted pregnancy in the community. The knowledge of the Nigeria National abortion law even amongst the health workers and teachers was generally poor. The participants agreed that there were problems and complications (often severe) including death associated with abortion in the community. It was largely agreed that contraceptive knowledge and usage was poor. The reasons adduced for this include lack of knowledge, lack of spousal consent, socio-cultural taboos and misconceptions, as well as economic reasons. It was suggested that imbibing positive family values by parents in their wards and government leveraging the socio-economic status of the community will go a long way to stemming the tide.

Conclusion: Unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion and abortion complications are reported to be common amongst women of reproductive age group in Amukpe community, whilst contraceptive awareness and usage is poor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / psychology
  • Adult
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Culture
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Perception*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned / psychology
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted* / psychology
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult