Decision-making and social network support around ending unwanted pregnancies using misoprostol in Lagos state, Nigeria

Grace Kumolu Melissa Stillman, Guttmacher Institute Onikepe Owolabi, Guttmacher Institute Akinrinola Bankole, Guttmacher Institute Ann M. Moore, Guttmacher Institute Akanni Akinyemi, Center for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD) Adesegun Fatusi, Guttmacher Institute

First published on African Journal of Reproductive Health:

Abstract / Summary


Nigeria, with the largest population in Africa, has a restrictive abortion law, and a high rate of induced abortion. The objective of this study was to explore women’s decision-making process for self-managed abortions and the support they received from people in their network during the abortion process. Secondary data collected by Guttmacher Institute on misoprostol-containing medications to terminate a pregnancy in Lagos State was used for the study. Forty-nine percent of women visited a drug seller that they used frequently for other health problems; while 25% were referred to the drug seller by friends. Sixty-two percent of respondents reported confiding in at least one person who they trusted, from whom the majority reported receiving emotional support. Self-managed abortions are an increasingly important option for people, especially where abortion is legally restricted, and having support during the abortion process helps women manage their abortions.