‘Nigeria Performs 456,000 Unsafe Abortions Yearly ’
The International reproductive rights group, Ipas, has said Nigerian archaic laws on abortion have contributed to the increasing number of maternal deaths that occur yearly around the world, adding that abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal deaths and morbidity in Nigeria.
Making the assertion at a three-day media training workshop on “Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights” organised by Ipas in Abuja, Acting Country Director of Ipas, Ms. Hauwa Shekarau, a lawyer, said that the training is aimed at getting the citizens better informed on issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women.
She further said that every woman has the right to safe reproductive health choices, which includes safe abortion care, adding that abortion laws have failed to save the lives of women due to their restrictive nature.
Shekarau said: “The abortion law in Nigeria is restrictive and it is only permitted to save the life of the woman if she is in a danger. But those that do not fall under this legal restriction are left to their own devices. Also the cost of carrying out this procedure is high, and those who are not economically empowered resort to quacks, making unsafe abortion the most silent and persistent cause of maternal mortality in Nigeria.”
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwlada, Dr Godwin Akaba, said unsafe abortion could lead to bleeding, infections and infertility.
He added that unsafe abortion contributes at least 13 per cent to maternal deaths, adding that more than 456,000 unsafe abortions are done yearly in Nigeria.
Akaba further said lack of family planning tools is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, as it results into unintended pregnancy, which could lead to unsafe abortion.
” The magnitude of maternal mortality and morbidity represents perhaps the greater social justice of our time,” Akaba said, adding “ our ability to address these preventable causes of maternal mortality is but a symptom, a tragic symptom of a larger social injustice of discrimination.”
Chairman, Association for Advancement of Family Planning, (AAFP), Dr Ejike Orji, said that abortion deaths have become the second leading cause of maternal deaths in Nigeria, stressing the need for the individualisation of family planning (FP) services in Nigeria.