Impact of abortion laws on women's choice of abortion service providers and facilities in southeastern Nigeria
Background: The liberalization of abortion laws in Nigeria has been an interesting debate for a long time. Both proponents and opponents have defended their positions with similar vigor. However, the opinion of the Nigerian woman on the subject matter has received little attention. It is important to understand the opinion of the Nigerian woman, especially with regard to the potential impact of any abortion law on unsafe abortion.
Objective: The objective of this study is to determine the impact of abortion laws on women’s choice of abortion service providers and facilities in Southeastern Nigeria.
Methods: Women attending the gynecological clinics of two tertiary hospitals in Southeastern Nigeria were interviewed with interviewer‑administered questionnaires. Questions were asked on awareness of abortion laws, opinion on liberalization of abortion laws, and the impact of abortion laws on women’s choice of abortion service providers in situations of unwanted pregnancies.
Results: A total of 1120 women were interviewed. More than half (57.7%) of respondents were aware of the abortion laws of Nigeria. About 59.2% of respondents had previously done abortion for unwanted pregnancies. Some (78.3%) of respondents indicated that abortion laws will not influence their choices of abortion service providers in cases of unwanted pregnancies. Majority (78%) do not support liberalization of abortion laws.
Conclusion: The abortion laws in Nigeria do not influence women’s choice of abortion service providers and facilities. Factors other than the contents of abortion laws influence women’s choices. The findings of this study open a new
vista toward the search for the factors that drive unsafe abortion in Nigeria.
Keywords: Abortion laws, Abortion service, Nigeria