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27.04.2004 Regional News

Punish men who impregnate, cause illicit abortion for girls

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Tema, April 27, GNA - A member of FIDA on Monday stated that women who cause illegal abortion should not be made to face the law alone. Rather, the men who made them pregnant and assist in terminating the abortion should also face punishment to serve as deterrent, because the two committed the criminal act, Mr Charles Habiah, Project Co-ordinator of Adolescent Reproductive Health of FIDA stated at Tema.

He was speaking on adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights at a two-day seminar organised by the National Population Council Secretariat for members of the Tema Municipal Population Advisory Committee at Tema.

He said it was regrettable that a law court in the country sentenced an adolescent girl to a jail term for causing illicit abortion but she was set free by another court on the grounds that the two committed that act when the FIDA intervened.

Mr Habiah therefore, advocated that the law should go further to punish men who make girls pregnant and help them to abort them, since the act is a shared responsibility between the two.

The project coordinator stressed the need for parents to provide enough information about sexual relations to enable their adolescent children make the right and informed choices, because that stage is critical for children and that any decision taken has reflection on their future life.

According to him studies conducted two years ago indicate that 40 to 50 per cent of teenage girls are sexually abused, and therefore, this alarming revelation should be seriously addressed so that the youth are not plunged into danger in future.

Ms Ellen Rockson, Greater Accra Regional Population Officer called for special attention for adolescents as they have high potential for population growth, for they form about 30 per cent of Ghana's population.

This therefore calls for the creation of an enabling atmosphere for adolescents to learn about their transition to adulthood by educating and informing them about matters of sexual and reproductive health. She said the policy on Adolescent Reproductive Health Policy is meant to guide policy makers, programme managers and implementers in designing appropriate intervention strategies to address the problems facing the youth.

Mr Samuel Evans Ashong Narh, Tema Municipal Chief Executive asked parents to discard the notion that their children are ignorant of sex and rather educate them about the consequences to be able to make an informed choice.

He said the plain truth is that, children of today know more about sexual issues than the adults could imagine but what they do not know the inherent dangers in indulging in pre-marital sex.