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What Lagos govt should do before implementing policy on lawful abortion –Experts

Public Health experts have urged the Lagos State Government to ensure all stakeholders are engaged and communicated with, before implementing the guidelines on lawful abortion.

The experts stated that there are several perspectives on abortion which include social, religious, and health perspectives, noting that the government must be able to strike a healthy balance between these perspectives.

According to them, the policy is something that will affect the lives and well-being of all women, hence the need to engage all the stakeholders and ensure they are on board with the policy.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview, a lawyer and the chairman of the Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative, Barrister Ayo Adebusoye said the whole point of Lagos state government considering people’s opinions, is to ensure lives are not lost.

He noted that Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rates, adding that the rate of abortion in Nigeria is phenomenal.

Barrister Adebusoye said, “One of the things they need to do is to have more consultations with various stakeholders because they need all hands on deck. It is not something they can do in one corner there have to be community outreaches.

“All these things are happening in the communities first and if those who are actually at risk of not being taken care of do not have access to care, do not know where to go and what to do then we would continue to have them dying as they are today.

“So there has to be that communication, there has to be proper health education in the communities of where our women can go,” he said.

He further added that the continued criminalisation of abortion is dangerous because it puts the lives of women in need at risk.

The public health expert said, “One clear thing is that abortion in itself has different kinds. There is involuntary abortion which is also called miscarriage and if women don’t have a place where they can go to take care of that, out of fear of criminalisation lives may be lost.

“That is why this argument on whether abortion is moral, illegal, or criminal has to been seen in a bigger view because there are some women that need that care for various reasons where they have an involuntary abortion, and if they are not taken care of could die.

“If everything is criminalized, then the doctors would not be able to attend and the whole point of this is to make sure that women’s lives are saved where there are complications and the woman’s life is at risk,” he said.

According to Barrister Adebusoye, once there is a pathway for safe and legally authorised abortions in the state, there won’t be situations whereby women have to go to quacks for help, and more lives would be saved.

He said the guidelines are actually meant to curb the actions of illegal abortions so that women can get the appropriate assistance and care needed.

“The challenge is once there are no guidelines in place, once there is nothing authorized by the state, people would go to all kinds of quack places and all kinds of people doing all kinds of things and lives are lost as it is happening now. We need to make sure that those who need that care are not just going to any quack.

“So we don’t have to go far, I think that is where we need to situate this whole conversation that it is actually something that is meant to curb the actions of illegal abortions taking place where they can get proper help and care,” the barrister said.

Speaking in the same vein, a Public Health physician at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Prof. Tanimola Akande, added that the guidelines are meant to prevent deaths from illegal abortions through provisions for safe abortion within what is permitted by Nigerian law.

He stated that controversies regarding abortion legalisation will always arise in Nigeria.

Prof. Tanimola said, “Globally the issue of legalising abortion is very controversial both in developed and developing countries.

“Controversies will always arise in Nigeria because Nigerians are very religious. The two major religions in Nigeria are against abortion.

“Government will therefore need to engage in wide stakeholders consultations including religious groups with all having well-informed knowledge on the pros and cons of such guidelines,” the public health physician said.

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imarvy
@imarvy
Lawful abortion in Nigeria??? This is crazy!
1y ago
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Cheery
@Cheery
What a country
1y ago
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Whayina
@Whayina
Nice one but let’s wait&see…since the government have to decide first…interesting ???
1y ago
Reply
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