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Days after the US supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 ruling that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion in the US, Lagos State Government has announced a policy document on safe termination of pregnancy toward guiding healthcare professionals to provide safe and lawful abortion services in the state.

Dr Olusegun Ogboye, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, said this at a stakeholders meeting to launch the document on Tuesday in Lagos.  Ogboye said this in a statement by Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, Director, Public Affairs in the state’s health ministry.

According to him, the 40 page policy document, titled “Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications” sets out guidelines for safe termination of pregnancy within the ambit of the criminal law of Lagos State.

Ogboye noted that the document was to provide evidence-based data and information for health workers in public and private sectors with requisite skills to provide safe termination of pregnancy to reduce preventable deaths.

He said that while therapeutic termination of pregnancy was permissible under the state’s law, absence of clear guidelines had stalled the effective implementation at appropriate levels of care resulting in preventable deaths.

According to the statement, the permanent secretary said the process for the guidelines began in 2018, and involved the input of stakeholders within Lagos and across the south-west, supported by the Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Nigeria (SOGON) and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

“The Federal Ministry of Health had developed and disseminated the national guidelines on safe termination of pregnancy which highlights the compendium of conditions and circumstances under which termination of pregnancy could be instituted.

“The guideline was intended to build the capacity of health professionals to identify pregnancies for which legal termination could be instituted. Marie Stopes International in Nigeria in collaboration with the Population Reference Bureau proposed to support the State government to adapt the document.

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