A Non-Governmental Organisation, Ipas Nigeria, has called for the review of the law criminalising abortion in the country.
The Ipas Country Director, Hauwa Shekarau, made the call at a workshop on Increasing Community Awareness on Woman’s Reproductive Health and Rights on Saturday in Abuja.
Sections 228, 229 and 230 of the Criminal Code cover the issue of abortion.
Section 228 provides that that any person providing a miscarriage to a woman is guilty of a felony and liable to up to 14 years of imprisonment.
Shekarau explained that Nigeria’s law on abortion states that an abortion could only be allowed when the life of the woman carrying the pregnancy was in danger.
She urged the Federal Government to decriminalise abortion as provided in both the Criminal and Penal codes.
The gender advocate and human rights activist said that such laws had given way for unsafe abortions.
According to her, many young women desperate to get rid of pregnancies patronises quacks instead of professionals and in the process die, thereby increasing maternal mortality rate in the country.
Shekarau said that because of the position of the law, professionally certified doctors refuse to assist women with unwanted pregnancies.
She said that in spite of the law of the country on abortion, a lot of women and young girls were still dying in Nigeria in the hands of quacks while some terminate such pregnancies in terrible, crude and horrible manner.
She said: “Any law that does not recognise or reflect the true situation of the country is a dead law.
“Ipas is concerned on the way and manner women are dying from preventable causes, which are so worrisome.”
Shekarau disclosed that her organisation had been engaging Nigeria’s legislators to ensure such law was amended.
She said that Ipas had also been working with some women groups like FIDA and NAWOJ on many initiatives.