Adolescents' knowledge about abortion and emergency contraception : a survey study

Seutlwadi, Lebogang (2012) Adolescents' knowledge about abortion and emergency contraception : a survey study. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

Adolescents have become focal points of discussions and debates regarding sexuality and reproductive health matters. However, little research has been done particularly in South Africa to examine their knowledge concerning abortion and emergency contraception. Research indicates that a substantial proportion of adolescent pregnancies are unintended or unwanted. Abortion and emergency contraception are both time-sensitive services. Thus having accurate and comprehensive knowledge about both abortion and emergency contraception is pivotal, in the case of unintended or unwanted pregnancy or when engaging in unprotected sex or experiencing contraceptive failure that could lead to pregnancy. The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) defined reproductive health rights for both men and women as the right to "decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so" (p. 60). That is, men and women should "have the right to make decisions concerning their reproduction free of discrimination, violence and coercion" (ICPD, 1994, p.60). Based on these definitions, it is rather evident that comprehensive and accurate knowledge are at the core of one's ability to make an informed consent. This is confirmed by Adler's (1992, p. 289) definition of informed consent or choice "a) access to sufficient information b) understanding the information c) competence to evaluate potential consequences d) freedom to make a choice and e) the ability to make and express that choice". It is from this framework that this study emerged. The aim of this study was to examine adolescents' knowledge concerning abortion and emergency contraception. The participants were Grade 11 learners between the ages of 15-24 years from five different schools in the Buffalo City Municipality. A sample of 514 was achieved. Data were analysed using descriptive cross-tabulation, chi-square and qualitative methods where appropriate. The results revealed that most of the participants did not have sufficient accurate knowledge concerning the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, consequences of legal abortion and emergency contraceptive pills to make informed decisions. Furthermore, data also revealed that the participants' schools playa role in their sexual activity, their knowledge about the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act and about emergency contraceptive pills. Although this method made it feasible for the researcher to make general assumptions, non-responses were one of the limitations of the study. Similar research in various municipalities/cities in and outside the Eastern Cape is recommended so as to increase further awareness concerning the level of knowledge that adolescents have about contraceptive pills particularly emergency contraceptive pills, the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act and abortion in general.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Birth control, South Africa, Buffalo City, Emergency contraceptives, Reproductive rights, Teenage pregnancy, Abortion, Sex instruction for teenagers, Health education
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
Supervisors:MacCleod, C.
ID Code:3112
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:11 Jul 2012 06:20
Last Modified:11 Jul 2012 06:20
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