Member of Parliament for Binduri in the Upper East Region is advocating for the liberalization of Ghana’s laws to allow for abortion.
Dr Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem is worried that the current laws which prohibit abortion is causing the death of thousands of women in the country, as some resort to unorthodox means referred to as the ‘black market’ to get pregnancies terminated.
According to him, the laws of Ghana allows for abortion only under extraordinary circumstances including incest pregnancy, impregnation of a ‘female idiot’ or mad female, and pregnancy resulting from rape.
Abortion is also allowed when health care workers determine that the baby if born will not be able to have a meaningful life or the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother should she still carry it.
Dr Kuganab-Lem who is also Deputy Ranking member on Parliament’s Health Committee wants Ghanaians to change their attitude towards the practice of abortion.
“Let’s leave technicalities aside…the criminalization of abortion leads to a situation where women seek unsafe abortion leading to increase in unwarranted maternal deaths and morbidities in our country.
“People are hypocrites in this country pretending not to see what’s going on in the name of socio-cultural setup. Christian and Islamic beliefs are killing innocent souls who cannot keep their pregnancies for social or economic reasons, are not allowed to abort it,” Dr Kuganab-Lem added.
He was speaking at a high-level round table discussion in Accra on Primary Health Care organized by SEND Ghana in collaboration with Alliance for Reproductive Rights, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and Parliamentary Select Committee on Health.
It was on the theme: “Advocacy for Primary Health Care.’’
He also expressed concern that about 80% of women in Ghana lose their lives because of faiths that do not promote the much-needed sex education and education on contraceptive methods which can empower them to prevent unwanted and unintended pregnancies.
“When these pregnancies occur, the women involved secretly seek abortion from the ‘black market’ where unsafe abortion is offered,” he said.
Dr Kuganab-Lem noted that in countries where the laws are liberal on abortion, unsafe abortion is drastically reduced. “The law on abortion in Ghana is restrictive and must be liberalized,” he said.
The MP said its time to increase and improve contraceptive services and make it accessible and readily available to all Ghanaians especially those in rural Ghana like his constituency where women die every day because of abortion.
He believes post abortion family planning counselling needs to be an integral part of services since it is a good measure of how well a country is meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).