Lagos suspends guidelines on abortion

Lagos health commissioner Prof Akin Abayomi

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has directed the suspension of the guidelines on safe termination of pregnancy.

Commissioner for health Prof. Akin Abayomi made the disclosure in a statement on Thursday.

Abayomi noted that the guidelines had generated immense public interest which necessitated escalating it to the governor.

He said that the governor advised further sensitisation of the public and key stakeholders to ensure a clearer understanding of the objectives of the guidelines.

“To this end, we are suspending the implementation of these guidelines in the meantime for the Executive Council to deliberate on this matter and ensure adequate public sensitisation and stakeholder engagement to reach a consensus required for a successful guideline development,” he said.

According to him, the ministry is seeking different methods to eliminate illegal abortions and ensure that a mother does not die at childbirth, thereby disrupting an entire family unit.

The commissioner said that illegal abortions and high-risk pregnancies leading to unresolvable complications rank high among the several factors that contribute to maternal mortality.

“In this regard, it became imperative to examine, in keeping with existing National and State laws and policies, if there are indeed justifications and medical reasons to offer abortion to a woman whose life is threatened by a pregnancy,” he said.

He noted that following this, the guideline was developed over four years through painstaking work by experts in law and in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Abayomi noted that the guidelines’ focus was on creating the opportunity to reduce maternal mortality in line with existing laws.

He said that the ministry remains committed to planning, devising and implementing policies that promote qualitative, affordable, and equitable healthcare services to the citizens.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 40-page document titled: “Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications,” was issued by the ministry’s directorate of family health and nutrition.

The document released on June 28 sets out guidelines for safe termination of pregnancy within the ambit of the criminal law of Lagos State.