COMMUNICATION STUDIES I.A
GENERAL INTRODUCTION The portfolio is focused on the theme, “Abortion”. The main study however, was based on, “The effects of Abortion on Women in Trinidad & Tobago”. In accordance with the Oxford Student’s Dictionary, the term Abortion is defined as a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the foetus. This topic is a current issue that occurs all around the world and in my country, Trinidad as such, the general purpose of this portfolio is to create awareness of the effects which abortion have on women and the manner in which these procedures are conducted. The theme that I chose has significant relation to my personal interest. It is my personal opinion that women over the past years were forced to have an abortion because of their predicament. This portfolio is intended to find out the effects as to why women have Abortions. It also relates to my academic interests because I learned about this topic in Biology, when studying sexual reproduction in humans and what it entails in going through with having an abortion. In relation to work-related interests, in the future I would like to further my studies and become a teacher. This way I could teach the future generation of children about the causes and effects of abortion on women. Educating the students at an early stage in their life will greatly assist them in making better and firm decisions. This portfolio comprises of three sections: the expository, reflective and analytical. In the expository section, I presented a brief speech on my theme in which I addressed the consequences of abortion and the effect which it has on women. Further, I also collected and used as two secondary sources, two articles on the same topic. In the reflective section, I have created in the short story genre, “5,4,3,2,1 Abort” which is directly linked to my theme. This section is accompanied by a preface which gives an account of my purpose, intended audience and the context where this dialogue can be used appropriately.
Page | 1
Abortion on women is a horrific and immoral act and I believe that everyone should have a fair opportunity in life and abortion prevents this from taking place. For my reflective piece, I have composed a short story entitled, “5,4,3,2,1 Abort.” I have chosen this genre because I believe that it is the most appropriate medium through which the potential effects of abortion can be effectively portrayed. The purpose of my piece is to demonstrate the repercussions of this heinous act.
This piece can be used in a neighborhood women's' group, ranged from ages 18-60, as well as girl schools in Trinidad of ages 12-18 that are focused on highlighting the effects of abortion. The topic of abortion can be discussed with both women and girls who passed through a similar situation as well as the women and girls who are now becoming sexually active.
This piece would best be presented at a mini workshop, student issued magazines that are focusing on abortion and at Women’s Groups so that women and young teenaged girls would be made aware of the issue of abortions and the varying impact it can have on their lives. A video presentation can also be constructed to further enhance the points being made.
Page | 2
REFLECTIVE PIECE 5,4,3,2,1 Abort Gabriella Williams was a kind, intelligent teenage girl who treated everyone with respect. Now, Gabriella is faced by the struggle of pregnancy which lead to thoughts of abortion is her head. “I may be young, I’m only 17 years old and I had an abortion last summer”, said Gabriella as she wiped the tears from her pale cheeks. Gabriella was a happy teenage girl, who had a great boyfriend, with whom she engaged in sexual activity. She made a great effort to work diligently in school and made a very concerted effort to attend church, where she was a member of the choir. Furthermore, Gabriella is the co-captain of the girls’ football team at her school, engages in many co-curricular activities and plays the piano quite well. Her supporting mother would always tell her with a serious look on her face, “Child, yuh know sum day yuh go be sombody special who go make ah change in life!” Gabriella always replied with a slight chuckle, “Doh worry ma, I goh make yuh proud.” But after school discharged everyone for the summer, her period was four weeks late. She tried to forget about it, thinking that it was probably stress or poor diet and the problem would go away.One day while looking at herself in the mirror, with a puzzled look on her face she softly murmured,“I cyah be pregnant right now, my life goin too good!” A month later in August , Gabriella started getting worried. Her period still had not come. But unknowingly, she simply brushed it off, thinking it was no big deal. But then, in late August, when she visited close relatives in Port-of-Spain, her 75 year old grandmother smirking and looking at her with a constant gaze said, “Gabs sweetie, wha happen. How yuh putting on so much weight? Yuh pregnant or wha?” Gabriella smiled nervously, looking away from her grandmother’s stare, “Granny, don’t be crazy!” making a random comment that she was gaining weight which made her look like a pregnant woman. Then when they got back home, Gabriella bought a take-home pregnancy test. While she was awaiting the results her palms were sweating profusely and she was shaking like a leaf. When the results showed up as positive her face turned white. “Omg! What have I done?” said Gabriella with tears running down her cheek messing up her make up. She couldn’t stop crying. Her life couldn’t afford having any “road blocks” and her boyfriend would be shocked. So Gabriella quietly just kept it to herself, and was also cutting Page | 3
down on food and exercising even more so no one could tell she was pregnant. But drastically, her appetite grew, and she was constantly eating. But then, two (2) weeks after she found out, her boyfriend of ten (10) months dumped her for another girl. This made Gabriella feel more worried and nauseous. Even though she told him that there was a possibility that she could be pregnant, with his face turning red he yelled in defense remarking to her face, “I doh wah nun tuh do wit you or dat wha yuh now tell me” quickly leaving her house . A few days later, Gabriella’s best friend went with her to get a pregnancy test. Of course, she already knew the answer. The doctors gave her an exam and went on to tell her with a shocking look, “Ms. Williams, Are you aware that you are ten weeks pregnant?” Gabriella remarked in a soft voice replied as tears as crept down her dimples, “Yes Dr. Basdeo, It was a terrible mistake and now I have to suffer the consequences,” embarrassed and avoiding eye contact with the doctor, Gabriella stared blankly at the floor in the doctor’s office. The nurse let her out the door but she couldn’t tell her best friend the news. So, Gabriella went back to her house and called her ex-boyfriend and told him that she was pregnant. He was in disbelief but I told him it was definitely true. But instead of telling her it was going to be all right, he explained in a harsh tone, “Well here wat nah, I doh wah no baby now so yuh better start tinkin bout having an abortion!” He also blurted out that she would not only get kicked off the football team, but also wouldn’t be able to dance anymore if anyone knew of her circumstances. His family is a strong Christian family and his father was in the special forces. He kept telling her that he would disappoint his family and to think how his parents would react. But it wasn’t only him that was pressuring Gabriella to get an abortion, her new boyfriend, friends and it seemed like the world wanted her to terminate the pregnancy. Finally, twelve (12) weeks pregnant, Gabriella finally went to get the abortion. It was the most painful procedure she’s ever gone through mentally and physically. The emotions that were welling up inside her were unthinkable. Something didn’t feel right. After a short time in the recovery room, the nurse let Gabriella out the back door. On her way home, she started thinking about what she had done. “I killed my baby,” she kept murmuring despicably. She decided this was something she had to keep to herself. The father of the baby never bothered to ask how she was doing nor how the baby was doing, so Gabriella didn’t bother telling him, nor anyone else. A month after the abortion, her mother found out and so did the ex-boyfriend’s parents. Gabriella had to confess everything. After the dust cleared, she started falling into a depression and started cutting herself. Suicide seemed like the best choice to make and there were many attempts. Gabriella felt the need to talk to the father of the baby, and also to receive some closure. Then, the support of her friends started making her feel better and soon she felt alive again. Gabriella also started praying and thinking about what her life would have been like if she were a parent. She knew that they wouldn’t be able to cope with it, not to mention that she is still in school and a lot of focus is needed in Cape exams. She finally realized that abortion is not something you forget, it is something you learn to live with. For a long time, Gabriella had been trying to force herself to forget. But she’s better now. All that remains are the Page | 4
overshadow of memories when she carried it for three (3) months. But now Gabriella knows, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
ANALYSIS / ANALYTICAL In this piece of data I mainly seek to analyse my short story entitled 5,4,3,2,1 Abort which is based on a teenage girl named Gabriella who went through the process of having an abortion. This piece will analyse the registers and communicative behaviours taken in the scripting of this story. Based on this story, it was noted that a formal register was used between Dr.Basdeo and Gabriella. The doctor shows a professional relationship between his patient and himself. This conversation used titles to address each other as seen when Dr.Basdeo says “Ms. Williams, Are you aware that you are ten weeks pregnant?” Also there was a level of formality because both Dr.Basdeo and Gabriella were meeting for the first time. This was made possible because it was the first time Gabriella went for a blood and urine test. Furthermore, there was also an intimate register used between Gabriella and her grandmother and this was made possible because of the way the grandmother called Gabriella, “Gabs sweetie” and also by asking a personal question and this was seen when the grandmother says, “Gabs sweetie, wha happen. How yuh putting on so much weight? Yuh pregnant or what?” This showed that the grandmother cares about her granddaughter and the relationship between them was a close one. Throughout this story, communicative behaviours were used by its characters to depict certain emotions. Communicative behaviours indicated to us when the characters were nervous, angry, sad or even regretful. An example of communicative behaviours within the passage is gestures. The reader can tell that Gabriella was feeling a sense of nervousness when her palms were sweating profusely and she was shaking like a leaf while awaiting the results from her pregnancy test. Facial expressions are also an example of communicative behaviours in the story. Gabriella’s boyfriend’s face turning red indicated his anger and frustration. Gabriella also started to pray, showed her behaviour in times of personal distress. Facial expressions were also in use for example when Gabriella was crying tears down her cheeks indicated that she was sad and in disbelief. Also the shocked look Dr.Basdeo showed Gabriella when he was telling her the results of her pregnancy exam. Avoidance was used by Gabriella to evade the confrontation of telling her boyfriend and relatives after having the abortion. The line to support this is,“The father of the baby never bothered to ask how she was doing nor how the baby was doing, so Gabriella didn’t bother telling him, nor anyone else.” Finally, by looking down at the floor in the doctor’s Page | 5
office avoiding eye contact showed that Gabriella was feeling a sense of shame and embarrassment. Registers and Communicative Behaviours are two of the four elements which aids in the creation of an effective analysis and added credibility to the story.
CONCLUSION The theme, “The effects of Abortion on women in Trinidad,” has been adequately explored. The main intention of this I.A was to educate women and girls thus explaining the topic of Abortion. It was observed that women became negatively affected both before and after the abortion procedure is completed. It can be concluded that having an abortion can affect your body both physically and emotionally. If an abortion is not done, this can result in you starting a family, provided the father is still around but can also negatively impact on your career in either work or school. Furthermore your own family may not support the decision you have made in cancelling the abortion. In the process of investigating and analysing the information regarding the effects of abortion on women in Trinidad, I have been able to learn from it, since these situations can lead to family separation, emotional breakdowns and even suicide attempts. Furthermore, in having an abortion, it can lead to different physical side effects like the use of pills which may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea and also the medical procedure can cause the rupture of the uterine wall which may prevent you from having children in the future and can also lead to death. Being equipped with this information, I would go on to pursue my career field of medicine to become an obstetrician so I would be able to educate people on all there is to know about abortion. In conclusion, Abortion indeed has a negative effect on women as seen in the information which was established above. I believe that there should be a law enforced, so as to permanently band abortion in the island of Trinidad. It is dually recommended that both teenage girls and women whom which is not seeking to acquire a family and is in fact engaging in sexual intercourse should use different contraceptive methods thus preventing you from getting pregnant which leads in having an abortion.
Page | 6
Adler, N., “Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion: Definitional and Research Issues,” "Types of Abortion Procedures." American Pregnancy Association. American Pregnancy Association. See M. Muldoon, The Abortion Debate in the United States and Canada: A Source Book (1991) J. M. Riddle, Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance (1994) Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century (1998)
Page | 7
EXCERPS OF TWO ARTICLES 1st Article
Doctors warn of abortion 'crisis' By Aabida Allaham February 8, 2011 GREATER access to contraceptives is needed to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and high number of abortion cases, medical professionals have said. "If they find the need to resort to plan C (an abortion), they should have all resources available to do so in a safe, legal, secure and affordable environment," gynaecologist and obstetrician, Dr Spencer Perkins, said on Thursday at a health forum hosted by the Family Planning Association (FPA) at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Port of Spain. The them of the forum was "Saving Women's lives: Our Rights and Responsibilities" Page | 8
Perkins said doctors could not turn their backs on patients who needed to undergo an abortion because of rape or other medical reasons. "Our primary goal has always been to promote safe sexual practices with the hope of encouraging planned pregnancies and preventing unwanted pregnancies," Perkins said. He added that when unwanted pregnancies occur, most women resort to unsafe abortions and end up in a critical condition because of those unsafe practices. But Dr Carol Boyd Scobie, the PAHO/WHO representative for Trinidad and Tobago, said the overall lack of effective contraceptives here could lead to a significant increase in illegal abortion cases. She said an increasing number of young women and adolescents were also involved in unsafe sexual activities that resulted in sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. "This is something that we are worried about because there seems to be a lack of resources and information to deal with it," Scobie added. However, when Dr Jacqueline Sharpe presented FPA's "Situational Analysis of Unsafe Abortion", she indicated that intervention was needed to deal with the rising crisis. "There must be comprehensive sexual education. Have conversations with them (young women and adolescents) and listen to what they have to say," she said. Stressing on the need for proper education and legislature, Sharpe said if a system is not put in place to deal with the situation, women will continue to use things like "bush tea" and "cycotex" to terminate their pregnancy.
Pregnant little girl 'a case for abortion' By Carolyn Kissoon July 20, 2012 THE 11-year-old girl raped by her father and pregnant with his child is a clear case for abortion, but there may be opposition from some religious organisations, former independent senator and head of the T&T Coalition Against Domestic Violence, human rights activist Diana MahabirWyatt, said yesterday. Page | 9
She said there were many medical complications arising out of child pregnancies, as well as mental and physical concerns. "I think this is a good case for abortion, but you also have to take into account stringent religious bodies. There will be some religious groups against any kind of abortion. People misunderstand the laws surrounding abortion. You have to take into consideration the life and health of the young mother, her physical and mental condition," she said. Mahabir-Wyatt said an abortion was not illegal if doctors found the mother's health and the unborn child at risk. On Tuesday night, at a child abuse seminar in Chaguanas, head of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Victim and Witness Support Unit Margaret Sampson-Browne revealed there was a shocking increase in the number of child abuse cases in Central Trinidad, including the case of the 11-year-old pregnant girl. Sampson-Browne said of the girl: "The sexual organs of the child are not yet developed, but she is having a child." She said arrangements were being made to remove the child from her home and make her a ward of the State, and she would be receiving counselling and medical treatment. Mahabir-Wyatt said, "It is dangerous to have a pregnancy at this age and if a doctor says this pregnancy will harm the girl, then an abortion will not be illegal." Mahabir-Wyatt said the pelvis of an 11-year-old is not yet developed to carry a baby full-term. She said the unborn baby may suffer serious injury or even die before birth. The mother is also at risk, she added. "And if her pelvis is developed and she survives this pregnancy, no one is certain she will survive motherhood at this age. How will she survive bringing up this child, going to school, growing up and leading a normal [life]," she said. However, Delores Robinson, programme officer at Advocates for Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive Equity (ASPIRE), said the child, her mother or legal guardian, should determine whether an abortion was necessary. ASPIRE is a non-governmental, non-profit advocacy group that has lobbied for sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly in the area of the reduction of unsafe abortion. Robinson said, "ASPIRE is not saying that she should or should not have an abortion. It is about choice". Page | 10
Mahabir-Wyatt praised Sampson-Browne for her work with abused children. "I hope somebody manages to save this child's life. I am grateful the police stepped in and saved this girl. But there are just a few police trained to handle cases of abuse. We need to train more police officers to detect evidence of child abuse," she said.
Page | 11