A study of factors leading to criminal abortions among teenagers in Lusaka, Zambia

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Mwila, Evelyn.
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The study investigated factors precipitating teenage criminal abortions, in Lusaka, Zambia. In this respect, several issues were examined and studied. These included attitudes portrayed by various social and cultural institutions towards premarital pregnancies among teenagers; these institutions such as, the family, the church, the school and aspects of the Legal system, (that is the abortion law in Zambia) were studied to determine the extent to which they influence and affect criminal abortions among young people. For this the survey method was used.The major findings were: That, there is a significant relationship between attitudes portrayed by society towards premarital pregnancies and the incidence of criminal abortions among teenagers.The negative attitude which the family, the church and the school have towards such pregnancies often forces teenagers to resort to criminal abortion. Premarital pregnancies among teenagers are still looked upon as a shameful and in moral act. It is also argued that the existing abortion law contributes to the consistent prevalence of criminal abortions. The findings indicate that teenagers who are supposed to utilize legal facilities for abortion are not aware of their existence or find them too bureaucratic and unaccommodating in so far as their interests are concerned. In the Light of this, there is a strong relationship between the non-awareness of the abortion law and the incidence of criminal abortions. Also, the restrictive nature of the law was found to be a significant factor in the decision to have illegal abortion.