Advocacy for reform of the abortion law in Nigeria

Reprod Health Matters. 2004 Nov;12(24 Suppl):209-17. doi: 10.1016/s0968-8080(04)24025-3.


Safe abortion services are only legal in Nigeria to save the life of the woman. Widespread incidence of unsafe induced abortions often results in death or irreparable harm to women. The Campaign Against Unwanted Pregnancy (CAUP) was launched on 17 August 1991 to address this public health crisis through advocacy for reform of the abortion law, research, education and preparation of service providers, and development of a constituency to support provision of safe abortion to the full extent of the law. CAUP commissioned an evaluation in 2004 to examine and analyse the work of the campaign during its 14 years of existence, which included a review of documents, a participatory learning workshop with CAUP, and almost 50 interviews with different stakeholders. This article, adapted from the evaluation report, tells how CAUP took a taboo topic and, in the midst of an extremely complex political and cultural environment, made it a legitimate subject for public discussion and debate. The Campaign undertook groundbreaking research on abortion in Nigeria. Service providers are being trained to provide, to the full extent of the law, safe abortions and post-abortion care, and advocacy efforts are continuing to lay the groundwork for improving the abortion law.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Health Care Reform*
  • Nigeria
  • Politics
  • Safety