Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Media Foundation, a media advocacy non-governmental organization, has called on the government to make safe abortion services accessible in public health facilities.
He said research shows a national surge in unsafe abortion practices, hence the need to ensure that young girls and women were able to access the services when the need arises.Speaking in an interview with Ghana News Agency to commemorate this year's International Day for Safe Abortion, Mr Ahenu said the devastating effect of unsafe abortion on young women and girls are enormous.
The International Day for Safe Abortion has its origin in Latin America and the Caribbean where women groups have been mobilising on September 28 over the past two decades to demand that their governments decriminalise abortion, provide access to safe and affordable abortion services and help end the stigma and discrimination towards women who choose to have an abortion.
Mr Ahenu said statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that unsafe abortion continues to be a public health crisis and one of the highest contributors to maternal mortality and morbidity in Africa.
He said the practice accounts for about 30 percent of all maternal deaths in the country saying that a recent WHO report estimated that more than six million unsafe abortions occurred in Africa, and this has resulted in 29,000 deaths, countless injuries and disabilities on women below 25 years.
Mr Ahenu said the criminal code on abortion was discriminatorily and its enforcement impacted adversely on vulnerable women and girls in the country. He said women who feared prosecution after unsafe abortions often delayed or failed to seek treatment at public health facilities with many of them dying in the process.
Mr Ahenu said criminalising abortion was a violation of human rights such as right to life, liberty, security, health and freedom from torture.