UGANDA: Community Health Rights Network (COHERINET) busts myths and abortion stigma
To promote the global day of action for access to safe and legal abortion and the Campaign for decriminalisation of abortion in grass roots of Uganda, COHERINET held myth busting activities focused on tackling abortion stigma.
Busting myths around abortion stigma
Rather than reacting defensively to conservative, anti-abortion messages, COHERINET expressed the importance of building “a reality-based argument against them by focusing on the positive experiences and realities derived from abortion through different avenues like the commemoration of the Global day of Action for Access to safe and legal abortion.” They took action in the slums of Bwaise 111 parish located in Kawempe Division Kampala district.
Activities objectively aimed at debunking false statements and replacing them with realities of proven research and individual experiences, breaking silence, fear, shame, and stigma facing our communities, breaking ideologically-based arguments on religion, culture and ethics that the anti-choice movements use; create awareness on realities of abortion and the women’s Reproductive rights focusing on the positive realities of abortion experiences and individual stories thus “Busting the Myths”.
A gathering of people from different walks of life
Action was taken by people from all walks of life: including religious leaders, cultural, Community, health workers, lawyers, human rights defenders and the community at large where all embodied.
“What are we going to do if the bloodshed is bad yet our daughters, sisters and mothers need help of termination after horrible incidents happening to them?” Pastor Moses Binyweera asked the gathering.
The pastor was highly supported by Mustafa Ali Bin Othman who quoted from the Quran (Surat Mariam). The Quran does not support abortion but if situations are very worse the principles of Islam; “will allow to terminate such unwanted or unlawful pregnancies”
“The law is there but does it consider the rights of women?” asked Joanine. “If the culprit is held under certain circumstances like rape for instance and she seeks for help from the medical providers, both are viable for arrest” Joanine stressed. “If a woman is to die the law allows termination if proved by doctors but we still want to stretch the bench mark of the law not only under the instructions of the doctors” Joanin added on.
“Let’s advocate for our rights other than continued deaths due to unsafe abortions. Let’s be confident with what we want. The well offs can afford to terminate when need arises because they have money but what about you who cannot afford exorbitant payments? We need a codified law in Uganda. A law that can explain how to access safe abortion in Uganda without fear.”