General News of Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Member of Parliament (MP) for Ledzokuku Constituency, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, has called for the decriminalisation of abortion in the country.
According to him, he is not calling for an unrestricted, unrestrained and unstructured legal regime that grants a blank cheque for the termination of pregnancy but to bring to the attention of the members of the Ghanaian parliament the increase in abortion by the end of 2017.
“53,114 were done in Ghana in 2017 according to the Ghana Health Service. 15, 325 of these abortions were unsafe abortion. In 2016, 11,427 females age between 10 and 35 went through abortion in the Ashanti Region, 5, 124 of which were unsafe abortions. 1, 500 of these unsafe abortions led to the death of the women and girls involved,” he said.
Dr Okoe Boye who was presenting a statement on the floor of parliament stated on the average, 10, 000 Ghanaian women and girls die yearly through attempted abortion.
He added that 27 females die daily as a result of unsafe abortion. “Termination of pregnancy kills women and girls because those performing the abortions are unqualified quack persons who take the advantage of a legal regime that discourages the discussion of abortions.”
“Many girls die because the law will cause their arrest should they visit a government hospital seeking termination of pregnancy” he emphasized.
Dr Okoe Boye reiterated that Ghana as a country has adopted the “see no evil, do no evil” principle in addressing abortion issues.
He told his colleague parliamentarians that because termination of pregnancy is illegal and punishable by imprisonment up to 5 years if a woman gets pregnant today in the country and has the intention of terminating it, she is unable to visit any public health facility for termination of a pregnancy unless the exceptional grounds of termination.
He said, “there are many occasions where the one doing the abortion is a qualified medic but because the legal regime classified the procedure as prosecutable, even the qualified medic finds himself opting for venues that are not inconvenient, in an attempt to avoid the griefs of the law”.
“For how long would we conveniently assume that no females go for abortion in this country?” he quizzed.
The Ledzokuku MP further stated that even if the house is not ready to decriminalize abortion, it is not sinful to discuss the ways through which we can sanitize the market that trades in unsafe abortions.
He noted that it is intriguing how the Ghanaian law prevents doctors for initiating the abortion process but if a woman attempts abortion and her life becomes threatened through bleeding, the law does not punish the doctor for saving the life of the ‘dying’ woman.