APPRAISAL OF LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK GUIDING VIOLATION OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN NIGERIA
Reproductive rights, which include freedoms and rights to autonomy, health, and decision-making around reproduction, are an essential part of human rights. In Nigeria, a complex interaction of institutional, cultural, and legal variables affects the status of women’s reproductive rights. This chapter looks closely at the institutional and legislative structure that governs reproductive rights in Nigeria and evaluates the common violations that prevent women from exercising their right to self-determination and from receiving all the reproductive healthcare they need.
Laws Governing Reproductive Rights
Nigeria has a legal system that ostensibly protects reproductive rights because it is a signatory to numerous international human rights conventions and treaties. Ratifying international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which requires the state to guarantee women’s access to reproductive healthcare services and autonomy over their reproductive decisions, is crucial among these.
Nigeria’s Constitution protects a number of basic rights, including the rights to life, health, and dignity, which are interpreted to include the right to procreate. The 1999 Constitution recognizes the sanctity of life, the human person’s right to dignity, and the individual’s right to personal liberty under sections 33, 34, and 35. However, due to insufficient enforcement, cultural norms, and statutory loopholes, the practical implementation and preservation of these rights in the context of reproductive health frequently meet difficulties.
Institutional Structure and Difficulties
The institutional framework for defending reproductive rights faces many obstacles in spite of legal provisions. Reproductive health promotion is the responsibility of government organizations including the Ministry of Health, National Population Commission, and National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA); however, its efficacy is hampered by a lack of funding, poor policy, and uneven execution.
Furthermore, patriarchal systems, religious convictions, and cultural standards all have a big influence on women’s reproductive rights. Customs such as female genital mutilation, forced and early marriages, and son preference restrict women’s autonomy when it comes to making decisions about their reproductive health.
Reproductive Rights Violation
Nigerian women’s reproductive rights are widely and diversely violated. Maternal death and adolescent pregnancy rates are high because of limited access to comprehensive sexual education. Women’s reproductive health is further compromised by obstacles such poor maternal healthcare services, unsafe abortion practices, and restricted access to contraception.
These transgressions are further compounded by stigmatizing and discriminatory practices directed towards women seeking reproductive health services, particularly single women and those from vulnerable groups. The vulnerability of women who experience violations of their reproductive rights is increased in the absence of legal protection and enforcement mechanisms.
In conclusion, reproductive rights are recognized by Nigerian law and institutions, but there are significant obstacles in the way of their actualization. Women’s reproductive rights are routinely violated due to a combination of social attitudes, legislative loopholes, cultural norms, and inadequate resources. A multimodal strategy including legislative changes, increased healthcare access, educational programs, and the rejection of ingrained social norms that support gender inequality are needed to address these problems.
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