Journal Article

Factors related to induced abortion among young women in Edo State, Nigeria

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest death rate from induced abortion in the world, and young women in southern Nigeria are particularly likely to terminate their pregnancies. This study assesses the prevalence of and factors associated with induced abortion among 602 young women aged 15-24 who were surveyed in Edo State, Nigeria, in 2002. We find that 41 percent of all pregnancies reported by the young women surveyed were terminated, and we estimate the age-specific abortion rate for 15-19-year-olds in Edo State at 49 abortions per 1,000 women, which is slightly higher than previous local estimates and nearly double the countrywide estimate for women aged 15-49. We construct explanatory multivariate models to predict the likelihood that a young woman has experienced sexual intercourse, has become pregnant, and has undergone an induced abortion, controlling for important demographic and risk-behavior factors. Young women unmarried at the time of the interview are found to be significantly more likely than married women to have had an abortion. Young women who have experienced transactional or forced sex are also significantly more likely to report ever having had an abortion, as are young women who have experienced more than one pregnancy. We conclude with suggestions for modifying the content and target populations of behavioral change messages and programs in the area.