The researcher will be conducting a research on abortion. The aim is to see whether people in our society think that abortion should be legal to teenagers without parents agreeing to it.
An abortion is the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death. Abortion can be performed in two different ways. The foetus can be removed using a pill and staying overnight in the hospital/ clinic for monitoring. The other way is to have surgery. This is called vacuum aspiration, this procedure is carried out in an operating theatre under general anesthetic. The foetus is then vacuumed out of the womb.
In 1861, the Offences against the Person Act made it illegal to supply or use any “poison or other noxious thing” or to use “any instrument or other means” to cause a woman to miscarry. It outlawed abortion by either the woman or any other person such as a doctor, nurse, midwife or pharmacist. However in the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, a succession of laws was brought in to reduce access to legal abortion. The laws effectively controlled women’s lives until 1967.
However unwanted pregnancy or the need for abortion was not prevented. Thousands of women had abortions illegally, even resulting to death and damaging their health. Newspapers advertised cures for ‘menstrual blockages’ but women knew they were abortifacients. Between 1923 to 1933 Fifteen per cent of maternal deaths were due to illegal abortion.
In 1990, the human fertilization and embryology Act introduced control over new techniques which had been developed to help infertile couples and to monitor experiments on embryos. This law was put in place to attempt to restrict abortion. The 1990 Act then lowered the legal age limit from 28 to 24 weeks, which is currently the accepted point of viability. The specific time-limits on abortion came into effect on 1 April 1991.
The moral and legal aspects of abortion are subject to intense social debate in many parts of the world. Aspects of this debate can include the public health impact of unsafe or illegal abortion as well as legal abortion’s effect upon crime rates. Currently, abortion law varies from country to country, with regard to religious, moral, and cultural sensibilities.
The World Health Organization defines an unsafe abortion as a procedure carried out by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards. This can include a person without medical training, a professional health provider operating in sub-standard conditions, or the woman herself.
Due to the higher incidence and severity of unsafe abortions the issue remains a public health concern today. Complications occur such as incomplete abortion, sepsis, hemorrhage, and damage to internal organs. It is estimated that 19 million unsafe abortions occur around the world annually and that 68,000 of these result in the woman’s death. Complications of unsafe abortion are said to account, globally, for approximately 13% of all maternal mortalities, with regional estimates including 12% in Asia, 25% in Latin America, and 13% in sub-Saharan Africa
The researcher has chosen this topic to make people aware that teenagers are having abortions without their parents knowing about it. A lot of underage teens are sexually active and are not using contraception as the process of getting an abortion is easy. They however are not aware of the downsides of having abortions and the complications that can occur as a result of this. One can have complications with the womb and never give birth again and in some cases repeated miscarriages. The researcher thinks that people should be aware of the above information and that if an individual is underage the parents should be notified incase of any complications.
The researchers hypothesis is, abortion should not be allowed to under 18’s without parental consent.
The researcher plans to use ten parents in her study and ten non parents aged between 19 and 30. This is because these people are classes as adults in the community and most of them are parents from this age which will help the researcher with his hypothesis. The researcher will compile a list of questions to be answered by random individuals. The researcher will use quota sampling in this research. The researcher will also conduct a pilot study to make sure that the questions are reliable. The researcher will use these methods as they are easy to conduct, and cost effective.
The advantages of conducting a pilot study she used pilot study will be to check the feasibility and improve the design of the research in order to avoid time being wasted on inadequate questions. A quota sample will make it easier to present data on graphs and easier to compare the results.
The researcher didn’t use pparticipant observation because it has many practical disadvantages it is often very time consuming. The researcher can usually only study a very small group of people and has to be physically present for the research to proceed. The account of social life produced by participant observation is the result of a highly selective method of data collection. The observer usually records a small fraction of data and selects what to record and what to omit.
In addition, the validity of the data is bound to be affected by the presence of the researcher; since the group is being studied they will not act naturally. Validity is important in any research because it gives a true measurement, description or explanation of what it claims to measure or describe. It is an accurate reflection of social reality. Studies can be replicated and produce the same results but the results may not be valid to the social world.
The researcher will make sure that all information is kept confidential and leave space for comments. Some people are pro-life and are therefore against abortion altogether. The researcher will make sure that people know why they are answering these questionnaires and what the purposes of the questionnaires are. This is so that people who are against abortion and people that are directly affected or not comfortable by this topic state before answering the questionnaire.
The researcher will also put in five or six open ended questions so that respondents can answer questions according to how they feel and what they think. The data will be reliable as the sample of respondents has been chosen and information will be put into graphs etc. however the researcher is aware that some of the information could be biased as respondents might not answer truthfully or give accurate information in order to conform with society or deliberately.
An interview with Doctor Brian Chivima who works for the NHS was conducted on the 1st of June 2008 at 3pm, who gave consent to his name being used in the interview is shown below.
Q: do you think abortion is right?
A: I think abortion is right under certain circumstances or when there is a defined criteria
And not just a supermarket approach to it. If the mother is in danger or something
Q: in your own opinion what do you think the age limit for abortion should be?
A: pregnant women should be involved in some sort of survey and whatever results that
Can be found from these studies used to set an age limit.
Q: Do you think abortions should be made legal to under 18’s without parental consent?
A: parents shouldn’t be an issue when a woman gets pregnant because it directly affects
The person that’s pregnant. Parental consent is not important as there should be
Another reason to set an age limit.
Q: From a medical perspective is abortion right?
A: some abortions are medical related whereas most of them are social. Personally I do
Not think its right.
Q: what sort of complications can occur during abortions?
A: Bleeding infection, physical injuries to the uterus or the womb, psychological
Problems as many of the women end up regretting. In some cases even death because
Abortions are performed under general anesthetic.
Q: in the NHS what age groups do you see aborting the most?
A: Mostly between 16 and 21
Q: Why do you think this is?
A: teenage pregnancy, lack of sexual health education, easy way out. Some grow up in
Poor living conditions and do not know any better.
Q: do you think that there is enough information given to teens about abortion?
A: I think the government should be aggressive on the laws of abortion. The media
Should get involved by advertising the risks mental and physical, parental.
Involvement as well. Some teens just don’t have respect for their lives anymore
Q: is it easy to get an abortion in the NHS?
A: yes all you need is consent from two doctors.
Q: you mentioned that an individual could die from abortion, how this would be
Explained to a parent if the girl was 16years old.
A: well an enquiry would be done first, it would be checked to see if it was a system failure
or not. Before the abortion consent forms are signed and all the cons are explained so
The individual goes to theatre knowing what could or could not happen
Q: thank you for your time Doctor Brian Chivima, you have been a great help.
A: You are welcome.
The researcher chose to use a quota sample in this research. This sample was useful because the researcher was able to compare the amount of people that thought abortion should be legal to under sixteens and those that thought that abortion shouldn’t be legal to under sixteens.
The researcher complied a questionnaire and a structured interview to use when collecting the data needed. The researcher used both open and closed questions because the researcher thought that this would be the best way to obtain the best results.
The researcher used this method to gather data as it is cost effective and the researcher knew that confidentiality could be kept by not letting respondents put their names on the questionnaires. The respondents were all asked for their consent before filling in the questionnaires and the questionnaires were designed in a way that it wasn’t too personal.
The researcher conducted a pilot study to test the validity and reliability of the questions. The questions were compiled and given to individuals who were not to be part of the main study. These individuals filled in the questionnaires and gave the researcher feedback on how the questionnaires could be improved. The questions that weren’t structured correctly were corrected accordingly. The researcher compiled a final draft of sixteen open and closed questions that had been considered, tested, valid and reliable.
The researcher is also aware that having an interviewer present while the respondent filled in the questionnaire may have affected the results. Other disadvantages of using a questionnaire method are that the respondents could give biased information either by mistake or on purpose as to conform to the rest of society. The researcher will look at all the questionnaires carefully to consider if there have been any influences on the results.
With the data gathering instrument found valid and reliable and the sample chosen the main study was conducted. After this the researcher analyzed the results and came to a conclusion. The results are shown in a graphical format and in percentages.
In response to question 1, Graph 1 shows that half the respondents that took part in the survey thought that abortion should not be legal under any circumstances, 30% said yes and 20% said they don’t know. This proved the researcher’s hypothesis to be correct about 40% of the respondents said that abortion should only be legal where the mother or child was in danger or couldn’t look after the child after is born. 50% said it shouldn’t be legal under any circumstances as it’s a form of killing and 10% decided not to answer. Graph 2 is showing the number of respondents that favor or oppose a ban on all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when a mother is endangered. 20% were undecided answering question 3.
If abortions were made legal under any circumstances, would many women end up with unwanted children. 40% of the respondents agreed while 30% said it wouldn’t happen and 30% didn’t know. Results are shown in graph 4 show that 85% of the respondents said that they think its right for the government to allow children at the age of 16 to have abortions without parental consent, while the remainder of the population said no responding to question 5.70% of the respondents answered that a sixteen year old is too young to make that decision and wouldn’t know wrong from right. Whereas some thought that it was a hard decision to make and without parental involvement if something goes wrong it hard to account for.
In graph number 5 the information shows what people thought the age limit should be on abortions. Most people chose the age group (18-19) proving the researchers hypothesis right and answering question 7. According to question 8, 55% of the population who took part in this survey were parents shown in graph number 6.
Most parents stated that they would be gutted, devastated and upset. Some parents said they would want to know why their child would have an abortion and how it came about. Graph 7 shows 60% of the people who took part in this survey were Christians, 10% were Muslims. Both these religions have similar views on abortion as proved in question 11. this answers question 10. All Christians stated that it is against their religion and that they see it as killing a human being. All the Muslims stated that it is discouraged in their religions and the rest of the chosen population preferred not to answer
Graph 8 shows that most people thought that abortion should be legal between the ages 22 to 25 relating to question 12. Proving the researchers hypothesis that it should not be legal at 16 without parental consent. In graph 9 85% of the people stated that they think abortions for children under the age of 18 should be consented by parents.
50% of the people who took part in the questionnaires stated that they knew someone who has had an abortion before while 20% said no and 30% preferred not to answer. According to graph 10 which is answering question 13, people who took this questionnaire the largest percentage of people that had an abortion was between 16 and 17years old. This proves the researchers hypothesis right. Most people were gutted but some supported the person whilst half the people preferred not to answer.
The response rate for the questionnaire was hundred percent as all questions were answered. This is due to the researcher providing questions that weren’t personal or intimidating. The questionnaire devised to evaluate the knowledge of people on the amount of teenagers below 18 having abortions in Britain. However the knowledge that people have seems to be more than average. From the study that the researcher did using the questionnaires, the researchers hypothesis was proved right as respondents answered that the age limit should be between 22 and 25 and 85% said parental consent should be given before an abortion to an under 18 young adult.
Out of the chosen sample of respondents, the parents stated that they thought that parental consent should be given to young adults below the age of 18. Interestingly most of the respondents that said no to parental consent were the same people that gave a lower age limit to what they think it should be for an abortion.
According to Dr Brian Chivima, abortions are not right except where a mother is in danger or something medically wrong with them. He does not think that parents should give consent as it is an individual’s decision what to do with the baby. However the largest amounts of people having abortions are between 16 and 21 proving the hypothesis right. However there is not a real explanation as to what sort of information the parents will be given if a death was to occur except the fact that a contract would have been signed by the individual having an abortion.
The questionnaires however showed that parental consent should be given to under 18’s for abortions. As doctors perform these abortions, they probably look at it from a medical perspective which makes it right to do so.
The researcher thinks that the risks of abortion should be made public and known to all to try and prevent teenage pregnancies. Contraception, parent involvement and sex education should be made clearer in order to avoid abortions.
The researcher would recommend that for any future replications of this study, a larger sample should be used to gather more information so that the results represent a larger portion of society.
Haralambos and Holbon (2000) Sociology Themes and Perspectives 6th Edition, Collins
http://www.bpas.org/bpaswoman.php?page=7 (4/05/08) (see attached)
http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content;task=view;id=18;Itemid=44 (4/05/2008) (see attached)