In Ghana, as in many other countries around the world, abortion is criminalised. In 2017, the Ghanaian health services registered over 53,000 abortion patients in public hospitals. Of these, 13,000 abortions were unsafe, according to the Ghana Health Service.
A retired nurse who runs a pharmacy in Tamale said that up to three-fourths of students from different schools in the area often come to the shop for abortifacients, some of whom she observed were up to five months pregnant.
There is a lot of stigma, especially against young women. A woman who had had two abortions last year said that in the hospital you are likely to meet people who may expose you in your community, and that the ways young women are treated by hospital staff “do not make you want to attend at the hospital”. Instead, you opt to go to a local person and pay 100 GH¢ to terminate the pregnancy.
A 19-year-old said that if you are young and pregnant, your friends will laugh at you. Some hospitals even ask young women to bring their parents or partners for permission, in order to access abortion. Otherwise doctors will not provide an abortion. And it’s not much better even if you continue the pregnancy.
Patricia Antwi-Boasiako, director of Marie Stopes Ghana, said that when women access abortion outside of medical facilities, it is often the case that not all the products of conception are expelled, they often have a lot of pain, perforation may occur which causes a lot of bleeding, and haemorrhage can lead to anaemia.
In Ghana, 30% of maternal mortality is said to be from complications of unsafe abortions. Another women argued the law should be revised, it should be up to the women and the partner to decide whether to continue a pregnancy.
SOURCE: DW.com, by Adjoa-Sika Assignon, 23 October 2018