NewsEast & Horn AfricaHealth: Ugandan women seek abortion right

Tue,21Nov2017

Posted on Tuesday, 29 September 2015 16:37

Health: Ugandan women seek abortion right

By Godfrey Olukya

Thousands of Ugandans have signed a petition calling for parliament to abolish a colonial law criminalising abortion, demanding the country's legislators legalise safe pregnancy terminations.

The petition, introduced on Monday at a ceremony organised by women activists in Kampala, had garnered over 30,000 signatures late Tuesday morning.

Unsafe abortions are claiming many lives, especially of young people

The organisers say they are targeting 2.5 million signatures.

"An estimated 26 per cent of preventable maternal deaths in Uganda are due to unsafe abortions carried out by unqualified medical practitioners.

"There is need for the country to prioritise sexual reproductive health," Joyious Akira, advocacy officer at Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), said.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Akira argued it was unwise to punish women, who sometimes had to abort because they were left without other options, particularly when their lives were at stake.

Abortion carries a 7-year punishment for anyone found guilty of practising or abetting it.

Akira said her organisation is seeking the annulment of the restrictive law of 1950 in order to stop deaths caused by unsafe abortions and encourage safe abortions in licensed places.

The ministry of health's commissioner in charge of reproductive health, Colin Tusingwire confirmed that unsafe abortions, carried out by unskilled people, have continued to claim many lives in the country due to failure to properly legislate the practice.

"Unsafe abortions are claiming many lives, especially of young people. We are talking about induced abortion to be done in a clean environment by experts in order to save lives," he said.

And according to the president of the association of gynaecologists, Charles Kigundu, 840 pregnancies are illegally terminated daily, leaving the lives of Ugandans at the mercy of unqualified personnel.



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