ABORTION AND THE LEGALITY QUESTIONS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF NIGERIAN AND AUSTRALIAN LAWS

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ABSTRACT
The pandemic of unsafe abortion in Nigeria caused partly by the restrictive nature of the law which prohibits induced abortion except to save a pregnant woman’s life and which has led to a denial of abortion in public hospitals or within the ambit of the law thereby compelling most women who are determined to terminate their unwanted pregnancies to resort to clandestinely unsafe abortion in the hands unskilled health care providers and more often than not in unsanitary conditions. The problem is an urgent public-health and ethico-legal issue in that like most other health issues the scourge of unsafe abortion continues to threaten women particularly in developing world, Nigeria inclusive. For instance, recent researches have revealed that of the approximately 19-20 million unsafe abortions are done yearly world, that nearly all 97% of such are in developing countries and, that an estimated 68000 women die as a result. In addition, millions more have to contend with short or long term complications. Accessibility to modern subsidise contraceptives can dispel the need for abortion in the first place while availability of abortion within the ambit of the law can reduce the soaring rate of unsafe abortion. To do otherwise is to continue to contend with the rising incidence of maternal mortality and/or be overburden by the cost of taking care of complications from unsafe abortions thereby over burden the already impoverished health care systems. As grave as the issues are, controversies based on individual’s nuances, perception and attitude persist to overshadow the public health impact of the problem. Be that as it may, this long essay studies the laws regulating abortion in Nigeria, a country with restrictive law and high incidence of clandestine and unsafe abortion and; in Australia which a country with a relatively liberal law on the concept and by far comparatively low incidence of the problems associated with unsafe abortion view to seeing what could be imported from that country in bid to fashioning law to deal with the harshness of the situation caused by the extant abortion laws in Nigeria. 

  



TABLE OF CASES

AUSTRALIA
R v Davidson (1969)  V. L.R. 667
ENGLAND
R v Bourne (1938) 3 All ER 615
NIGERIA 
R v Edgal (1938) 4 W.A.C.A. 133

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Roe v Wade (1973) SC 3040, 106 Led 2nd 410.








TABLE OF STATUTES
AUSTRALIAN
Abortion policy in South Australia 1969
Abortion Policy in the Northern Territory 1974
Australian Capital Territory Crimes (Abolition of offence of Abortion) Act 2002.
Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2008
Western Australia Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998

NIGERIA
The Criminal Code Act Cap. C38, LFN 2004.
The Penal Code (Northern Nigeria) (Federal Provisions) Act Cap. P3, LFN 2004.

UNITED NATIONS
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).


LIST OF ABBREVIATION

CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.
Ch.D Chancery Division.
LFN Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
D & C Dilation and Curettage.
W.A.C.A West African Court of Appeal









TABLE OF CONTENT
TITLE PAGE………………………………………………………………………….........i
ABSTRACT…………..………………………………………………….………....iii
TABLE OF CASES………………………………………………………….......…vi
TABLE OF STATUTES…………………………………………………………...vii
LIST OF ABBREVIATION…………………………………………………......viii
TABLE OF CONTENTS.……………………………………………….........…ix-xii

CHAPTER 1
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.0.0:  INTRODUCTION………………………………………..……………….................. 1-2
1.1.0:  BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY………………….…………................ 2-3
1.2.0:  OBJECTIVES OF STUDY…………........…………………………............ 3
1.3.0:  FOCUS OF STUDY ………………………………………………………... 4
1.4.0:  SCOPE OF STUDY……………………………………………………......... 4
1.5.0: METHODOLOGY………………………………………….…………........... 4
1.6.0: LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………………………….......  4-5
1.7.0: DEFINITION OF TERMS……………………………………………... 5-6
1.8.0: CONCLUSION…………………………………………………............ 6-7

CHAPTER 2 
CONCEPTUAL APPRAISAL OF ABORTION
2.0.0:   INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………... 8-9
2.1.0:   THE MEANING OF ABORTION…………………………………… 9-12
2.2.0:  TYPES OF ABORTION……………..……………………………….. 12-14
2.3.0:  METHODS OF PROCURING ABORTION………………………..… 14
2.3.0.1:  DILATION AND CURETTAGE (D & C)…………….....… 15
2.3.0.2:  PROSTAGLANDIN CHEMICAL ABORTION…………. 15
2.3.0.3:  SUCTION ABORTION……………………………………. 16
2.3.4: SALT POISONING (SALINE INJECTION)…………….. 16
2.4.0: EFFECTS OF ABORTION……………………………….….… 17-24
2.5.0:  CONCLUSION………………………………….……………….. 24-25

CHAPTER 3
NIGERIAN LAWS ON ABORTION
3.0.0:  INTRODUCTION………………………………………………….. 26-27
3.1.0:  HISTORY OF ABORTION LAW IN NIGERIA………………… 28-31
3.2.0:  LAWS GOVERNING ABORTION PRACTICE IN NIGERIA……..… 32
3.2.0.1: CRIMINAL CODE……………………………………………. 32-33
3.2.0.2:  PENAL CODE………………………………………….…… 33-38
3.3.0:  CASE LAWS ON ABORTION………………………………………. 38-40
3.4.0:  THE EFFECTS OF ILLEGAL ABORTIONS IN NIGERIA…… 40-43
3.5.0:   CONCLUSION……………………………………………….……. 43

CHAPTER 4
POLICY ON ABORTION IN AUSTRALIA
4.0.0:  INTRODUCTION………………………………………………… … 44
4.1.0:  HISTORY OF ABORTION POLICIES IN AUSTRALIA…….. 44-46
4.2.0:  ABORTION POLICIES IN AUSTRALIA…………………… … 47
4.2.0.1 ABORTION LAW REFORM IN VICTORIA…............… 47-50
4.2.0.2: AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY CRIMES (ABOLITION OF OFFENCE OF ABORTION) ACT 2002……………………... 50
4.2.0.3: ABORTION POLICY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA…… 50-51
4.2.0.4: ABORTION POLICY IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY…… 51
4.2.0.5: ABORTION POLICY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA …………..… 52-53
4.3.0:  THE EFFECT SOF THE VARIOUS ABORTION LAWS IN AUSTRALIA.. 53
4.4.0: A CRITIQUE OF THE NIGERIAN AND AUSTRALIAN LAW…….. 53-56
4.5.0: CONCLUSION……………………….……………………………….… 56-57

CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 
5.0.0: CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………. 58-60
5.1.0: RECOMMENDATION …………………………………………...…… 60-62













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