The Ogun State Government says it has launched guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for legal indication for the well-being of pregnant women “whose pregnancy could pose danger to their lives and physical health.”
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, said this while launching a document prepared on how the pregnant women in state could have safe abortions.
Coker said the government was giving a “standardised medical service for women that find themselves in certain situations such as rape, incest, cancer, and hypertension among others.”
According to Coker, the new document which was endorsed by stakeholders, including Islamic and Christian leaders in the state, does not amount to legalising abortion by the government.
She said the document was put together in order to reduce preventable deaths among women of childbearing age and victims of domestic violence.
Speaking during the launch of STOP in Abeokuta, Coker said the policy provides a standard medical management for victims of gender-based violence.
“There has been a law in place in Nigeria and Ogun State that tells us in what situation that abortion can be carried out. Because we want to avoid misinterpretation of that and also empower our clinicians to carry out their duties within the boundaries of the laws on the land, that is why we have articulated it in black and white .
“I like to point out that this document is important for health care workers that encounter women in this category. It must be emphasised that Ogun State does not legalise abortion.
“What we are doing is giving standardised medical service for women that find themselves in certain situations such as rape, incest, cancer, and hypertension, among others. There are legal situations where a pregnancy cannot continue, and what we are doing is to make sure these women have access to medical care,” Coker said.
Representatives of both the League of Imams and Alfas and Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Rabiu Kusimo and Revd. Stephen Adeyemi, respectively, endorsed the document.
Kusimo and Adeyemi said the step taken by the government would not only save pregnant women’s lives, but also allow only competent medical workers to engage in approved abortion in safe places.
The Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Development Board, Dr Elijah Ogunsola, said the dissemination of the policy further strengthened the commitment of the present administration to ensuring the right to health of women.