Unsafe Abortion and its Ethical, Sexual and Reproductive Rights Implications

  • E Adinma
Keywords: Unsafe Abortion, Ethical, Sexual and Reproductive Rights Implications


Background: Unsafe abortion is an important cause of maternal mortality and morbidity, particularly marked in developing countries with restrictive abortion laws. It has both bioethical and human rights implications, violating their key principles and components.
Objective: To highlight the magnitude of complications of unsafe abortion and examine the legal, bioethical, sexual and reproductive right implications of unsafe abortion as well as to review post abortion care (PAC) in Nigeria.
Data Source: Information derived from online web-search, literature review of articles from learned journals, serials and monographs from local and supra-national agencies working on abortion, and reproductive health.
Results: About 20 million unsafe abortions are performed annually globally resulting in about 80, 000 maternal deaths. Asia and Africa have the highest number of maternal deaths. In Nigeria, 760,000 abortions are performed annually. Abortion law in Nigeria is restrictive. Unsafe abortion violates three key bioethical principles at micro and mega-ethical levels. It also violates eleven of the twelve components of sexual and reproductive rights. PAC is approved as an effective approach to reducing abortion morbidity and mortality and promoting women’s reproductive rights.
Conclusion: Stakeholders can promote the ethical, sexual and reproductive rights of women through the following interventions: advocacy, liberalization of restrictive abortion law, training of health workers on PAC services, interorganisational collaboration, development of right based code of ethics and inclusion into medical training curriculum. Socio-economic empowerment of women, provision of PAC services equipments in health facilities, and improvement of access to quality family planning services will also help promote the rights of women.

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eISSN: 0189-160X