Health & Human Services. (Abstracts-2003 Annual Meetings)

Michigan Academician, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Health & Human Services. (Abstracts-2003 Annual Meetings)


The Social Construction of Abortion: An Analysis of Activist Opinions and Women's Experiences. Anne LaTarte, Kalamazoo College, Human Development and Social Relations; home address: 214 Woodward, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

This study examines the way in which facing a decision about crisis pregnancy affects a woman's opinion on the abortion debate. Eight abortion activists, four pro-life and four pro-choice, and eight women who faced unplanned pregnancy, four who aborted and four who carried the pregnancy to term, were interviewed. Questions focused on their opinions about abortion, sex and contraception, motherhood, personhood, and gender roles, as well as the background and formation of these opinions. The participants' accounts were analyzed using Berger and Luckmann's theory on the social construction of reality combined with the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance. Research indicated that activists' opinions on abortion and related topics are formed very differently than women who face the abortion decision in crisis pregnancy. While activists, for the most part, maintain their opinion on abortion through primary and secondary socialization, the women who face crisis pregnancy face the secondary socialization step of unexpected motherhood. This experience causes them to form their opinions in a way that accommodates their pregnancy decision, even if it means altering their line of thinking.

The Stories of Displaced Ghanaian Women: Personal Indigenous Assessment of Impact of 1994/95 Konkomba Conflict in Northern Ghana. Brenda F. McGadney-Douglass, Eastern Michigan University, World College, Ypsilanti, MI 48197, and William K Ahadzie and Nana A. Apt, University of Ghana, Center for Social Policy Studies, Accra, Ghana

The country of Ghana, colonized by the British and the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to receive its independence in 1957, is generally considered by many as a peaceful country. However, interethnic and intraethnic disturbances have featured in the Northern Region of Ghana for decades. The most common forms of local conflict situations currently existing in Ghana include the following: (1) traditional conflicts that prevail arising out of chieftaincy and land disputes; (2) religious conflicts among religious sects; and (3) domestic/family conflicts that are centered on domestic violence over property and land ownership issues. The extent of damage from the conflicts is devastating to the economy and community. The impact on the community includes destruction of villages and property, loss of life and occupations, increased migration, and displacement of people. The purpose of this paper is to present findings of the experiences of twenty displaced women from the 1994/95 conflict. These women who have res ided in Tamale, Ghana since they were displaced from seven villages in 1994 were interviewed in June 2002. The conflict gravely impacted the rights of women and children. There is much to learn from those most affected by the conflict.

Accusations of Witchcraft and Female Homicide Victimization in Contemporary Ghana. Mensah Adinkrah, Central Michigan University, Sociology Department, 138 Anspach Hall, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859

The goal of this paper is to enhance awareness of one type of violent victimization of females--witchcraft-related femicides. In Ghana, stereotypes abound of elderly women as witches. In some instances, suspicion or accusation of witchcraft is followed by lethal or nonlethal assault of the supposed witch. This paper examines witch beliefs in Ghana and analyzes thirteen incidents of lethal violence committed against women accused of witchcraft during 1995-2001. The author presents a gender-based analysis of witchcraft accusations that contextualizes witch murders as a form of gender discrimination. The results indicate that appreciation of the social and cultural contexts, as well as the status of women in the society is crucial in developing an understanding of witch-related femicides in Ghanaian society. …

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