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Sanwo-Olu suspends abortion guidelines after criticism

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State Governor has suspended the “State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications” issued last week by the state Ministry of Health following criticisms.

The ministry in a statement on Thursday evening said the guidelines have generated great public interest which has forced the governor to suspend the implementation.

The suspension is expected to buy time for proper sensitisation of the public and key stakeholders to ensure a clearer understanding of the objectives of the guidelines.

“We are suspending the implementation of these guidelines in the meantime for the Executive Council to deliberate on this matter and ensure adequate public sensitization and stakeholder engagement to reach a consensus required for a successful guideline development,” the ministry said in a statement signed by Akin Abayomi, the state commissioner for Health.

Read also: Stakeholders not consulted on abortion legalisation – Catholic Archbishop

In keeping with existing national and state laws and policies, Abayomi said it has become essential to assess if there are indeed justifications and medical reasons to offer abortion to a woman whose life is threatened by a pregnancy.

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

The ministry said it is seeking different methods to eliminate illegal abortions and ensure that a mother does not die at childbirth, disrupting an entire family unit.

It explained that the guideline was developed over four years through painstaking work by experts in law and in obstetrics and gynaecology with a focus on creating the opportunity to reduce maternal mortality and in line with existing laws.

The ministry however reiterated its commitment to planning, devising, and implementing policies that promote qualitative, affordable, and equitable healthcare services to the citizenry.

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