The Incidence of Abortion in Nigeria

New Study Estimates 1.25 Million Abortions Occurred in 2012, Up from 610,000 in 1996

Though permitted only when necessary to save a woman’s life, induced abortion is common in Nigeria. A new study, “The incidence of abortion in Nigeria,” conducted by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute and the University of Ibadan, finds that 1.25 million abortions were performed in the country in 2012, compared with the 610,000 abortions estimated to have occurred in Nigeria in 1996. This increase is due not only to greater population size, but also to an apparent rise in the abortion rate. The estimated abortion rate was 33 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–49 in 2012. Although this rate is greater than the 1996 rate (23 per 1,000) estimated in a previous study, the most prudent conclusion may be that the abortion rate has increased slightly, as the two rates were calculated using different approaches.