‘More than 1m Illegal Abortions Occur in Nigeria Annually’


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A recent study has revealed that over one million Nigerian women perform illegal and unsafe abortions annually.

Dr. Olutosin Awolude, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan disclosed this during the launch and dissemination of the national study conducted in 2012.

He said “In Nigeria, abortion is legal only when performed to save the life of the woman.

“Still abortions are common and mostly unsafe because they are done clandestinely by unskilled providers.

“In spite of Nigeria’s highly restrictive abortion law, an estimated 1.25 million induced abortions occurred in 2012.

“The estimated abortion rate was 33 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49 in 2012.

“They are married and sexually active and they want to space their births or stop child bearing but are not using contraceptives.”

He added that “One in seven women have unmet needs for family planning and 500 deaths occur per 100,000 births in the country, thereby increasing Maternal Mortality Rate.

“Complications of unsafe abortion range from pain to bleeding and more serious conditions, including systemic infection, pelvic infections and injury from instruments and even death.

“About 40 per cent of women undergoing abortion experience, complications serious enough to require medical treatment”

Hauwa Shekarau, the Acting Country Representative of IPAS Nigeria also added that “Abortions take place because of restrictive abortion law and legal restrictions on abortion does not reduce it but makes it more unsafe.

“Our abortion law needs to be reviewed.

“We need to decriminalise abortion and develop guidelines at all levels of the health system to ensure that women can access modern methods of contraception.

“We need to develop guidelines for the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act by providing comprehensive medical care to victims of rape or incest.”

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