Access to Health Facilities Including Reproductive and sexual Health Rights

Sybil Nmezi
Posted May 15, 2012 from Nigeria

Unsafe Abortion has been identified as a one of the preventable causes of the dead of girls and young women in Nigeria. A fifteen year old girl who was the only child of a widow was raped by armed robbers. This led to her being pregnant. When the family sort for termination of the pregnancy, the doctor they met refused to perform the abortion because it is not legal in Nigeria. The girl out of frustration and shame went to patent medicine store and bought some drugs over the counter in an effort to terminate her pregnancy. She took the drug and started having bleeding , she was rushed to the hospital but could not get immediate attention due to not having enough money for deposit before treatment and she died.This is a great lose for us. the family and the Nation.

In reality, in every six minutes a girl dies of unsafe abortion and complications. This is because legal indication of abortion in Nigeria is quite restrictive therefore making unsafe abortion a persistent pandemic. Nigerian government with highly restrictive abortion laws is a manifestation of women's subordination in a patriarchal society.which is culturally based. This illegality of abortion as well as shame attached to it contribute to women seeking a non formal channels. Yet Nigeria is a member state to international treaties and Instruments that support women's right to safe and Legal abortion.The abortion restrictions is an intrusion upon women's body that directly violets their rights to physical integrity and sexuality.

Therefore access to safe abortion is very important for young women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence such as rape and incest which is common in our societies today.

In view of this I recommend for an urgent call for the review of abortion laws in Nigeria to save the lives of our young women.

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  • Corine Milano
    May 15, 2012
    May 15, 2012

    Nmezi, thanks for being the first woman to write in to our Rio+20 campaign. This is an incredibly timely and heartbreaking topic. I'm very glad you took the time to share your views with the PulseWire community and with leaders at the upcoming UN Summit.

    Thanks again, Corine

  • hannah_reed
    May 18, 2012
    May 18, 2012

    Hi Nmezi, I enjoyed reading what you had to say. This is a very important issue, and I agree with you that restrictive abortion laws is a manifestation of women's subordination in a patriarchical society. I had no idea that in every six minutes a girl dies of unsafe abortion, this is difficult to hear but inspires me to action. Thank you, Hannah