Nigeria still reports massive losses due to illegal abortions

Hundreds of Nigerian women die every day from complications arising from illegal abortions, said Ipas, an international NGO.

Mr Lucky Palmer, Country Manager of Ipas (Nigeria), said this Sunday at a three-day “Media Training for Journalists on Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights / Global Gag Policy” in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

Palmer also revealed that a woman in a developing world died of these complications every eight minutes, noting that the statistics were taken from only those who visited hospitals for medical attention.

For the 85 million women who get pregnant per year, 40 million typically end up having abortions, with developed countries responsible for 98 per cent of the unsafe abortions, according to Ipas representative in Nigeria.

He also said Africa and Latin America reported the largest number of illegal abortions worldwide.
Palmer expressed disappointment that Nigeria had yet to amend discriminatory domestic laws and policies that placed health and lives of women and girls at risk; as well as prohibiting them from exercising rights under international law that the government had pledged to it.

The country representative of the IPAs added that 1.25 million women in Nigeria had an abortion in 2012 alone, double the number reported for 1996.

He emphasized that, unless immediate action were taken, the figure would continue to rise as only 16% of all women of reproductive age used contraception and only 11% used modern methods.

“That leads to nearly 10 million unwanted pregnancies, of which over half end in an induced abortion,” he said.

The country director attributed the Global Gag Rule to this troubling public health problem, adding that journalists’ training to help with education and advocacy was one of the avenues the organization was exploring to resolve the issue.

He said there was a significant responsibility on the media to work closely to curb the danger with related organizations.

Palmer called on the media to liaise with government authorities in promoting law reform and the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, support women’s reproductive rights and wellbeing, raise awareness and inform the public about the effects of unsafe abortions

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