Women Group Asked Sanwo-Olu To Lift Suspension On Safe Termination Of Pregnancy Guidelines
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has been urged by women civil societies and youths with disabilities to immediately lift the suspension placed on the Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications 15days ago.
The group argued that the suspension placed on the guideline will do more harm to women and their pregnancies than good stressing that it has “pushed the state back to the sufferings our women went through pre-independence period.”
Making the call, the Women Rights and Civil Society Organisations groups spoke
at a media briefing held under the aegis of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) at De Rembrandt Hotel, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Alawusa, Ikeja.
Addressing delegates at the event, Executive Director, WARDC, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi accused religious and cultural organisations and persons with philosophical convictions of weeping up sentiments and kicking against the working documents developed over four years of painstaking work.
“We believe that the state government is being blackmailed by religious sentiments. Women have a right to their bodily integrity and to life. What the guideline is pushing is for us to save women from a good preventable death. The ban on the State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications should immediately be lifted”, she stated.
According to Dr. Akiyode- Afolabi, several international organisations such as World Health Organisation (WHO), International Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, Amnesty International, United Nations and Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians among others have repeatedly issued guidelines to indicate that women have a right to decide on whether or not to have an abortion.
“One of the long term outcomes of the guidelines is to ensure reproductive choice for women faced with unintended pregnancy. It is her body, it should be her choice”, she contended.
Dr Akiyode-Afolabi argued that the suspended Lagos State guideline is modeled after the National Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications (2018) and prepared by the Federal Ministry of Health and “it provides guidelines for medical practitioners and other stakeholders on when it is lawful and unlawful to do any acts qualified by the use of the word “unlawful” in some of the sections of Act.
She also noted that the 40-page law also set out guidelines for safe termination of pregnancy within the ambit of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
“It’s a guide to standardize and build capacity for medical professionals to save lives of pregnant women whose pregnancy continuation is a danger to their lives and physical health. This outcome ensured that safe abortion services were available within legal indications in Lagos and also domesticating the violence against Persons Act, supports victims of rape and sexual violence receiving comprehensive medical care”, she contended.
According to her, unsafe abortion accounted for high number of maternal deaths recorded in the country in the past years.
She said ten per cent of global maternal death rates comes from unsafe abortions and that this made it second leading cause of maternal mortality in the country.
- She said that in 2017 alone, 212,000 women out of two million, annually estimated to have had abortions in the country, were treated for complications while 285,000 never received treatments for the severe health consequences they faced.