The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3226.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #71615

Adolescent abortion decision making narratives: A web-based inquiry into social and health risk assessment among urban Kenyan secondary students

Ellen M. H. Mitchell, PhD, Research & Evaluation Unit, Ipas, 300 Market Street, Suite 200, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, 919-960-5640,, Carolyn Tucker Halpern, PhD, Dept. of Maternal & Child Health, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 401 Rosenau Hall, CB# 7445, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445, Eva Seraphina Muthuuri, Research, Ipas - Kenya, Rhapta Rd/Mvuli Rd Junction, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya, Phillip Bardsley, PhD, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, Sarah Onyango, MD, MPH, Country Team Leader, Kenya, P.O. Box 1192, 38 Rhapta Rd, Nairobi, Kenya, and Janie Benson, MPH, Division of Health Systems Research, Ipas, 300 Market Street, Suite 200, Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

TeenWeb, a two year longitudinal internet study queries Nairobi secondary school students (n=679) to measure personal knowledge of, experiences with, and decision-making around unwanted adolescent pregnancy. In Phase1, school adolescents of both genders reported uncertainty or misunderstanding of the legal indications for abortion in Kenya. 47.4 % of respondents are unaware that abortion is legally permissible in circumstances when it will save a woman’s life. Over a quarter of respondents (26.1%) falsely assumed that abortion is permitted by law in cases of rape and 17.1% incorrectly assumed that fetal deformity was a legal indication for termination of pregnancy.

Given respondents’ incomplete understanding of abortion law in Kenya, in Phase 2 an Internet comic book scenario stimulus was designed to elicit adolescents’ perceptions of the social risks of both pregnancy and unsafe abortion, the unofficial practice of school expulsion of pregnant girls, and the role of parents, peers, religious leaders, and family in abortion decision making. This paper will report the results of a qualitative content analysis that explores adolescents’ decision making criteria and their weighing of social and health risks. Potential differences in boys’ and girls’ attitudes toward unwanted pregnancy, the risks and rationales for unsafe induced abortion, and the responsibility of male partners for unwanted pregnancy and pregnancy termination will be measured. Adolescents’ narrative descriptions of peers’ unwanted pregnancies will be analyzed to understand contemporary abortion behavior among Kenyan youth. Implications for family life education in schools and Kenya abortion law reform will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Abortion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Not the same old: Innovations in Teenage Pregnancy Prevention

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA