Criminal Law, Publication

Abortion Bans: Are They Really Effective?

A ban means to forbid, prohibit, disallow. Urban dictionary defines it as when something is extremely wrong, unacceptable, illegal, bad, or perverse.

I can recall the use of the word “contraband”. They were merely prohibited goods or items or personal effects prohibited by the school for whatever reason but not illicit or illegal. The items on the school’s contraband list kept increasing but this did not in any way STOP the students from smuggling the goods into the dormitories.

Things as harmless as colorful slippers were on the list and as an all-girls school, we do know how girls love colour, taste, and a bit of fashion to stand out among other students. There were students notoriously known to be contraband carriers. They devised means of concealing them while being checked by the house matrons and escaped sudden locker or box inspections that happened from time to time. If caught and the items seized, they still had a way of replacing them again. Most times the teachers assisted in buying the contrabands too.

I just described an average teenage secondary student’s behaviour in flouting rules in the boarding school and this is in no way limited to contrabands only. What do you think would be the outcome of an adult that has possibly rented her apartment, bought a home, a paycheck, insurance policy, investments, or married. We have had a lot of legal bans, restrictions, prohibiting certain acts, yet, crimes are on the increase daily. How much more a legal ban on private acts of private individuals that causes no harm to another and is not suicidal in nature as long as it is done and handled properly.

Every year, 1 in 20 Nigerian Women in their childbearing years (ages 15-45) has had an abortion. This adds up to 2million abortions yearly while 6,000 Nigerian women die from unsafe abortion-related complications. That is 10℅ of the Nation’s pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths. Also, more than 3 in 5 abortions in Nigeria are unsafe.

This means that there are about 1.25-1.3million induced abortions in Nigeria alone. Data shows that the average age to engage in sex in Nigeria is age 14. Reports show that institutions with restrictive rules are prone to have a higher rate of unsafe abortions and Nigeria records one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. A greater percentage emanating from unsafe abortions. A female or girl-child is probably using an iron hanger or some local unsafe medication administered to her by a quack, suggested by friends or online community to abort an unwanted pregnancy.

I saw comments online freely giving addresses to abortion clinics in Nigeria & of course harmful methods in response to an anonymous young lady’s plea to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. It shows people are either unaware that abortion is illegal in Nigeria and it is only the Northern part of Nigeria’s penal code that makes provision for an abortion to ONLY be carried out in situations where there is danger to the health of the woman. No such provision is made in the criminal code or criminal code laws adopted by respective States. Abortion in Nigeria is only performed to save the woman’s life. The punishment is 14years for the physician or the person that performed the act and 7years for the woman the act is performed on.

Despite the restrictive laws, abortions keep increasing every day in Nigeria.


About Uduakobong Okon

She is an experienced legal practitioner with a demonstrated history of legal experience consultancy,drafting, business relationship agreements, advocacy and administration of legal service industry. she has a flair for writing, social doocumentaries and recently developed an interest in Intellectual Property and Cyber Security Law.