Youth want government to legalize abortion
Publish Date: Oct 06, 2014
A nurse at Nebbi Hospital attends to a woman suffering from complications of a botched abortion. About 21% of maternal deaths are caused by unsafe abortions.
YOUTH from different parts of the country have called on government to fast track the law to legalize abortion to scale down on deaths of unprepared young girls as a result of unsafe abortions.
They said the law on abortion should be focused on saving lives of mothers who are always caught up in extreme and unavoidable circumstances. They argue that because of the existing law which criminalizes the practice, many mothers especially young people, end up dying at the hands of the fake doctors, while others use illegal methods.
This was during a youth dialogue on “Promoting comprehensive sexuality education” at National Water and Sewerage Cooperation Resource Centre in Kampala.
The event was organized by the Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU), sponsored by SEGAL Family Foundation, Rutgers WPF, MTV Staying Alive, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Sexual Reproductive Heath Rights (SRHR) Alliance.
Phiona Mbabazi, a student of Community Psychology at Makerere University said young people are not given the attention they deserve at health facilities in case they go there.
“When you have a problem, these adults at health centres never give you time to tell your story. They always judge you as a bad girl. But it depends on circumstances and these girls always can be counselled to change their positions,” she added.
She argued that many such pregnancies are as a result of inevitable circumstances like defilement and rape, which they always fear report to their parents thus resorting to abortion.
“I think even parents to change their attitude towards their children to avert these situations that lead to abortion,” Mababazi noted.
The executive director of RAHU, Humphrey Nabimanya said there is need for youth friendly service at all public health facilities to handle youth matters.
Musa Ssekito, from Kampala International University, said there is need for a flexible law and an inclusive healthcare system to reduce unsafe abortions on time.
“I don’t believe in abortion but I believe where the situation is inevitable, it should done on time. The existing law is bureaucratic. They need to revise it,” he added.
According to the Penal Code, a doctor who thinks that an abortion is justified to save the life of the mother, must write to the director general of medical services in the health ministry, seeking approval to terminate the pregnancy who also convenes a medical to scrutinise the case.
Dr. Collins Tusingwire, the commissioner for reproductive health in the ministry of health, said they have reviewed the adolescent policy and developed good packages to provide youth-friendly services at all referrals country wide.
Dr. Charles Kiggundu a gynaecologist said the more Uganda looks away from safer ways of abortion, the more women run to unsafe abortions thus leading to death and complications.
According to statistics, about 21% maternal deaths are caused by unsafe abortions. According to the 2003 national abortion incidence study, 15 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age were treated for an abortion-related complication in that year.
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