IPAS calls for review of abortion law, access to contraception

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Abuja   –  IPAS Nigeria, an NGO which works for the advancement of reproductive health has urged goverment, policy makers to review the country’s abortion law and grant women access to contraceptives.

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Mrs Hauwa Shekarau, the acting Country Representative IPAS, made the call on Wednesday during the launch and dissemination of the study on the “Incidence of Abortion in Nigeria”.

Shekarau said that the country’s abortion law was cruel to situations where women got impregnated through rape and incest.
“When a woman is raped, she was raped because there was no security measures to make sure she doesn’t get raped.

“But now she is raped and as a result of that, she becomes pregnant, no services to even help her regulate her fertility.

“Just about 11 per cent women of reproductive age use contraception and if you don’t use contraception, how do you prevent unwanted pregnancy, that is why unintended pregnancies will continue to happen,” she said.

According to Shekarau, most women with unintended pregnancies will not keep the pregnancy while many of them will want to terminate it.

She stated that there was high prevalence of abortions in the country that engendered pain, infections and in some cases death.

“People don’t need to come out with their placards to say we want to have abortion and when complications occur, they stay with it because they don’t want to be condemned by the law.

“The law should be reviewed to allow people who have genuine cases like rape, incest and health conditions that can affect the life of the woman”, she said.
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She also said that some qualified health care providers who engage in abortion practices do it at the expense of their professional ethics.

Shekarau also pointed out that the experts who engaged in this does it at an exaggerated cost, hence low income women could not afford it.

“Women who live below one dollar per day cannot afford the luxury of visiting experts for abortions because they will be charged so high and the medical experts are not protected by the law.

“As a result, these women will result to quacks where they can get abortion done at a cheaper rate,” she said.

She added that the legalisation of abortion would avail women access to safe abortions and services by trained personnel in a safe environment and affordable cost.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the objective of the study is to ascertain the incidence of abortion in the country both regionally and nationally.

It is also aimed at finding out women who had access to safe abortion facilities.

NAN reports that the study was carried out in the six geo-political zones of the country, involving 18 states of the federation.

The study sampled all tertiary institutions in the country where unsafe abortion was regarded as most prevalent.
The study was supported by Guttmacher Institute International. (NAN)

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