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20.05.2005 Regional News

Stigmatisation cause of unsafe abortions-activist

By GNA

Cape Coast, May 20, GNA - The executive director of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) Ms Kuma on Thursday urged women not to resort to unsafe means of terminating pregnancies, because of the social and cultural stigma and shame associated with abortion.

She said due to the lack of guidance and counselling from parents and health personnel, adolescents were more likely to experience pregnancy related complications and death.

Ms Kuma made the call at a day's seminar on " Unsafe Abortion" at Cape Coast, for queen mothers, women leaders, market queens and officials from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the media.

She expressed concern that four out of 10 girls, who die of complications from abortion, are below 20 years, whiles seven out of every 10 complicated abortion cases, are also between the ages of 20 and 34.

She therefore, called on the district assemblies to help provide more resources to cater for women's health and on the NCCE and the media to intensify education on the effects of unsafe abortion. Ms Kuma also urged women with pregnancy related complications to endeavour to seek early medical attention.

Nana Oye Lithur, an executive member of AWLA urged Ghanaians to ensure that, those in authority implement policies that are formulated to enhance their well-being.

She deplored the lack of a national data on maternal deaths through unsafe abortions, saying, such information could be found only at the hospital level and urged the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to expedite action on a proposed survey on the issue. Mrs Lithur hoped the participants, would help stem the practice of unsafe abortion, by sensitising their counterparts. Dr Joe Taylor, a gynaecologist at the Koforidua Government Hospital in an address read for him said it was a "social injustice" for a woman to die through unsafe abortion, since there were safe services available in the country.

He said the GHS had drawn up a strategic plan for legal abortion services and that a national survey will soon be conducted to enable the service have a data on abortions and also train personnel to handle such cases.

He repeated calls on women to avoid using dangerous implements to cause abortion and also stop engaging the services of quack doctors to prevent complications.

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