By Dorcas Jonah
The National Council for Women Societies (NCWS) has appealed to the Federal Government to remove legal restrictions on abortion to ensure safe services.
Mrs Gloria Shoda, President of NCWS, made call at a one day sensitisation workshop for women on ‘Unsafe Abortion’ organised in collaboration with IPAS as part of activities to mark the 2018 International Women’s Day in Abuja.
Shoda attributed the failure to reduce the high rate of death from unsafe abortion in Nigeria to lack of access to safe abortion.
She said that there have been an increasing number of abortion cases throughout the world.
The president said the situation had been fuelled by social and economy vices, adding that unsafe abortion accounted for over 70,000 deaths annually worldwide, Nigeria inclusive.
Shoda said that where enabling laws are available, deaths and disabilities from abortion are greatly reduced.
She said most times services are expensive and facilities are often poorly equipped in terms of manpower and materials necessary to handle abortion emergencies.
She urged women to embrace the use of contraceptives to reduce the incidences of unwanted pregnancies, which could lead to unsafe abortion.
“We also encourage our young girls to abstain from sex until marriage,” she said.
Earlier, the Country Director of Ipas, Hauwa Shekarau, presented a paper on “Overview of Women’s Reproductive Health and Right: Focus on Unsafe Abortion’’.
She also called on the government to make improve access to quality contraceptive service a priority.
She said that attention should be given to the rural areas, adding that the government should also ensure that safe abortion was accessible to all women.
Shekarau said health care providers should be able to perform abortions and integrating safe abortion and post abortion care into the public health care system at all levels.
According to her, as we press for progress for the Nigerian women, we must also remember to press for the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill currently before the National Assembly.
“The quest to protect the rights of women is impeded by the lack of adequate legislative framework,” she said.
She said a bill was proposed to address specifically the age long discrimination against women that restricts women from attaining their potentials. (NAN)