Abortion Practices Among Women in Buea: A Socio-Legal Investigation

Pan Afr Med J. 2019 Mar 26;32:146. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2019.32.146.17732. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: there are controversies surrounding the practice of abortion especially in developing countries of Africa. Cameroon is not an exception to this and hence this study aims at assessing knowledge on the awareness of abortion laws, the factors that determine abortion and people's perceptions on the legality of abortion in Cameroon.

Methods: the study is cross-sectional in its design. A total of 224 women were randomly sampled. Data for the study were collected through the use of questionnaires from the sampled women of child bearing age. These were used to assess knowledge on the awareness of abortion laws and the determinants of abortion. The data were analysed using STATA 15.

Results: the prevalence of induced abortion was 21%. The major determinants of abortion among these women were; desire to stay in school (28%), fear of parents (24%) and shame of being pregnant out of wedlock (26%). Furthermore, many women are not aware of the situations where abortion is allowed and hence some still undertake illegal abortions even when they find themselves in situations deserving a legal abortion.

Conclusion: induced abortion is still common in Buea, Cameroon despite the fact that it is illegal. Cameroon's legal and health system needs to work in harmony in order to lessen the legal processes of having a legal abortion.

Keywords: Abortion; Cameroon; determinants; knowledge; laws.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Criminal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Abortion, Induced / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Abortion, Induced / psychology
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Abortion, Legal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cameroon
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Developing Countries
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Shame