One can’t say this is when abortion started in Nigeria because it seems to be an act that is as old as birthing a child. The Nigerian law so far makes no provision for abortion in the country.
Nigeria’s criminal law system is divided between the northern and southern states of Nigeria. The Criminal Code is currently enforced in southern states. The abortion laws of the Criminal Code are expressed within sections 228, 229, and 230. Section 228 states that any doctor providing a miscarriage to a woman is guilty of a felony and up to 14 years of imprisonment.
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Section 229 states that any woman obtaining a miscarriage is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 7 years. Section 230 states that anyone supplying anything intended for a woman’s miscarriage is also guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to up to 3 years of imprisonment. The Penal Code operates in northern states, with abortion laws contained in sections 232, 233, and 234. The sections of the Penal Code parallel the Criminal Code, besides the exception for abortion with the purpose of saving the life of the mother. The Penal Code’s punishments include imprisonment, fine, or both. The offenses of these codes are punishable regardless of whether the miscarriage was successful. No provisions have been made to the Criminal Code making exceptions for the preservations of the mother’s life.
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These laws have led to the mobilization of protest groups over the years clamoring for a change to be made because abortion is health care and health care is pro-life. The act of abortion is a two edged sword because two lives are involved, the life of the mother and the fetus in question. So far, there are a few organizations that have come out to render support, pre and post abortion care to Nigerian women irrespective. Looking forward and seeing how civilization is taking place maybe one day Nigeria will easy it’s abortion laws just like other countries, and give it a benefit of doubt.
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