Abortion Laws in Nigeria
Is abortion legal in Nigeria?
Abortion is only permitted in Nigeria to save the life of a woman. Two separate abortion laws govern the Northern and Southern regions of Nigeria, with the Southern region allowing abortions to preserve both the physical and mental wellbeing of the woman. The Northern region is majority Muslim and is governed by the Penal Code while the Southern region is majority Christian and governed by the Criminal Code.
In 1982, the Nigerian Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians supported a termination of pregnancy bill that sought to expand the circumstances under which and abortion should be allowed. The bill would have allowed an abortion if the continuation of the pregnancy posed a great risk to the wellbeing of the woman’s existing children and if there was a substantial risk of the child being born with mental abnormalities and/or physical handicaps. The bill was strongly opposed by religious leaders and the Nigerian National Council of Women’s Societies who believed the passage of the bill would increase promiscuity within society. The abortion law remains unchanged to date.
What are the different Post Abortion Care (PAC) services available in Nigeria?
- Medical methods: Using pills such as misoprostol (Cytotec, Miso Fem, Vanprazol-200 )
- Surgical methods: Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
Who can perform legal abortions and PAC in Nigeria?
Only licensed and trained health practitioners at certified government and/or private health centers can legally induce abortions (under certain circumstances) and provide PAC.
Note: The law allows health care providers to refuse to terminate a pregnancy on religious, moral and ethical grounds.
Where can I go for safe legal abortions and PAC services in Nigeria?
Legal abortions and PAC services can only be performed by trained and licensed health care providers and should be accessible at most certified public and private health facilities.
Note: Untrained/unregistered providers often perform abortions and PAC, which can lead to complications. Please try to ensure your chosen provider is certified and trained in comprehensive abortion care.
What is the cost of a safe abortion or PAC in Nigeria?
The cost of legal abortions and PAC services differ by facility (private or public) and provider depending on the method (medical or surgical), complications and severity of symptoms. The costs can range from USD 3.00 - USD 103.00.
What abortion and PAC drugs are available in Nigeria?
- Misoprostol is available under the brand names Cytotec, Miso-fem and Vanaprazol - 200
- Mifepristone is available as a combipack under the brand name Mifepack
Note: Misoprostol is only registered in Nigeria for the treatment of Post-Partum hemorrhage (PPH), however it can also be safely used for a medical abortion within 10 weeks following proper dosage and use.
Can I buy abortion pills at a pharmacy in Nigeria?
- Misoprostol under the brand name Cytotec can be bought at pharmacies but can only be issued with an accompanying prescription.
- The pill usually costs between USD 3.00 – USD 9.00.
Note: Many pharmacists do sell Misoprostol without a prescription, however they do not often provide proper instructions on eligibility, dosage and usage for a medical abortion. Please refer to the following page on our website for comprehensive instructions on how to use the pill: https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/howto/#mi
Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in Nigeria?
- Ms Rosy Hotline http://giwynn.org/ms-rosy-hotline/ – provides women with information on their reproductive health and rights. The hotline is available 24 hours a days and is toll free.
Call now: +1855 553 1550 OR 08097737600 OR 08097738001
- Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) http://arfh-ng.org/ - works to improve and promote sexual and reproductive health and rights in Nigeria.
Contact numbers: +234 2 751 5772 (Daytime) OR +234 802 354 2889 OR +234 706 596 4489
- Marie Stopes Nigeria (https://www.mariestopes.org.ng/ ) – Provides Post Abortion Care (PAC) services as well as contraception and family planning and general health services.
Contact number (toll free & confidential): 08000022252
WhatsApp number: 08090022252
- Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) http://www.ppfn.org/ - provide sexual and reproductive health support and rights advocacy.
Contact numbers: +2347085472059, +2347085472047, +2348033048146
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- 1. Cost-effectiveness analysis of unsafe abortion and alternative first-trimester pregnancy termination strategies in Nigeria and Ghana.” African Journal of Reproductive Health, ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49763986_Cost-effectiveness_analysis_of_unsafe_abortion_and_alternative_first-trimester_pregnancy_termination_strategies_in_Nigeria_and_Ghana
- 2. “Facts on Unwanted Pregnancy and Induced Abortion in Nigeria.” Guttmacher Institute. https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/factsheet/fb_nigeria.pdf
- 3. “Impact of abortion laws on women's choice of abortion service providers and facilities in southeastern Nigeria.” Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice. http://www.njcponline.com/article.asp?issn=1119-3077;year=2018;volume=21;issue=9;spage=1114;epage=1120;aulast=Chigbu
- 4. “An Abortion Pill in a Murky Market.” Pulitzer Center. https://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/abortion-pill-murky-market