Abortion still criminal offence – Dr Appiah

The Deputy Bono East Regional Director of Public Health, Dr Paulina Appiah, said abortion is a criminal offence and still remains as such under Act 29, section 58 of the criminal code of 1960.

She said it was only legal under section one of the law if an abortion or miscarriage is caused where pregnancy was a result of rape, defilement and incest, and the abortion was requested by the victim or her family.

Speaking at a stakeholder engagement meeting on abortion-related maternal morbidity and mortality at Techiman, the Bono Regional capital yesterday, Dr Appiah said that abortion was also legal where there was substantial risk that if the child was born, it might form a serious physical abnormality or disease.

The purpose of the meeting was to orient key stakeholders on laws of abortion in order to be advocates of Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC), and to equip them to be champions of institutionalised CAC services.

It was attended by artisans, journalists, Nananom, religious groups, officials from the Ghana Education Service, Bono East Regional Co – ordinating Council (BERCC), National Youth Authority and Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU).

The Deputy Director disclosed that women had induced abortion because of medical problems, fetal malformation, contraceptive failures, family planning services not accessible or affordable and did not love their partners.

“Non – medical methods of abortion include herbal concoction, inserting of substance into the vagina, excessive physical activities, drinking of unprescribed drugs, heavy massage and mixing alcohol with chemicals among others,” she noted.

Dr Appiah said unsafe abortion had long-term complications namely chronic pelvic pain, infertility, psychological trauma, and short-term problems such as infection, incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, social disapproval and injury to internal organs.

The Deputy Director implored stakeholders to institutionalise Safe Abortion Care (SAC), educate residents on legal provision on abortion, reduce service delivery cost of CAC, saying that we wish “it is covered by the health insurance scheme.”

Dr Appiah expressed gratitude to the National Population Council, Marie Stopes Ghana, Engender Health, Ipas and Willows International and other partners, Nananom, BERCC and key stakeholders in the Bono East region for their support.

The Bono East Regional Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev Prince Owusu Aseku, who chaired the meeting urged stakeholders to contribute their quota to CAC and advocate for safe abortion.

FROM EMMANUEL ADU GYAMFI, TECHIMAN

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