Abortion is a taboo subject in most African States, and there is a lot of cultural and religious pressure against it. However, the reality is that many women find themselves in situations where they need to terminate a pregnancy, whether it is due to a health risk, an unwanted pregnancy, or even rape. Unfortunately, the lack of access to safe abortion services only makes things harder for these women.
Facts about unsafe abortion in Africa
Reportedly, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of abortion-related deaths in the world, at 185 maternal deaths per 100,000 abortions.
According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, an estimated 1.7 million unintended pregnancies occur in Nigeria alone every year, and many of them result in unsafe abortions. In fact, unsafe abortion is a leading cause of maternal mortality in the west African giant country accounting for 13% of all maternal deaths.
So, what is the problem with safe abortion services in Africa?
Well, to put it simply, they are not easily accessible or legal. Abortion is only allowed in most African countries if the woman’s life is in danger or in cases of rape or incest. However, even in these cases, getting a legal abortion can be difficult, as there are very few qualified medical professionals who are willing to perform the procedure. Additionally, many women are not aware of their rights or the available options for safe abortions, and some are even deterred by the stigma and discrimination that surround the topic.
Consequences of lack of access to safe abortion in Africa
The consequences of this lack of access to safe abortion services are devastating. Women who are unable to get a safe abortion may resort to unsafe methods, such as self-induced abortions or seeking help from unqualified individuals. These methods can lead to complications such as infection, haemorrhage, and even death. Moreover, women who have had unsafe abortions are often stigmatized and face discrimination by society and health providers.
What can be done to address this problem?
First and foremost, we need to increase awareness and education about safe abortion services. Women need to know their rights and be informed about the available options. Additionally, there is a need for more healthcare providers to be trained on how to safely perform abortions, and for laws to be amended to allow women access to safe abortion services.
In conclusion, the issue of access to safe abortion services in Africa is a complex and sensitive one, but one that needs to be addressed to save lives and protect the health of many women. We need to continue the conversation and work towards creating a safe and supportive environment for women in Africa. Let’s start today, and make a difference in the lives of our mothers, sisters, and daughters.