Mrs Gloria Shoda, President of the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), at a one day sensitization workshop for women on ‘Unsafe Abortion’ in Abuja, appealed to the FG to remove legal restrictions on abortion to ensure safe services.
The NCWS President, who disclosed that where enabling laws are available, deaths and disabilities from abortion are greatly reduced, further linked the high rate of death from unsafe abortion in Nigeria, to lack of access to safe abortion.
Though she admitted that most times services are expensive, and facilities are often poorly equipped in terms of manpower and materials necessary to handle abortion emergencies, however there is still an increasing number of abortion cases throughout the world fueled by social and economic vices.
Mrs Gloria Shoda further said at the workshop that unsafe abortion, accounted for over 70,000 deaths annually worldwide, Nigeria inclusive.
Rounding off her speech at the event, the NCWS President, urged women to embrace the use of contraceptives to reduce the incidences of unwanted pregnancies, which could lead to unsafe abortion. “We also encourage our young girls to abstain from sex until marriage,” she said.
Abortion is permitted to save the life of the woman, to preserve physical health, and to preserve mental health.
Abortion in Nigeria is governed by two different laws. In the predominantly Muslim states of Northern Nigeria, which contain about half the population of the country, the Penal Code, Law No. 18 of 1959, is in effect. In the southern part of the country, which is largely Christian in religion, the Criminal Code of 1916 is in effect.
While both Codes generally prohibit the performance of abortions, differences in the wording of the Codes, as well as in their interpretation, that have resulted in two slightly different treatments of the offence of abortion. Two physicians are required to certify that the pregnancy poses a serious threat to the life of the woman.