Wednesday, 19 June 2024
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AfricaHealth and Medical

In Africa, abortion is legal, but physicians don’t promote it

  • Efua went for an abortion, but she was still anxious.
  • Many women likely aren’t aware that they have the right to legal abortion.
  • Every country on the continent must allow women to have a medical abortion in situations involving rape, sexual assault, and incest

A 25-year-old Ghanaian single mother and fashion designer named Efua went to a health center to get an abortion, but she was still anxious because of the nation’s increasing anti-abortion movement.

Many women likely aren’t aware that they have the right to legal abortion, even though over 20 African nations have recently relaxed their abortion laws. Since the U.S. Supreme Court‘s 2022 ruling repealing the national right to an abortion, some medical professionals are growing more reluctant to perform abortions in public for fear of inciting the wrath of opposition parties.

Legal abortion

According to the Maputo Protocol, a human rights agreement that has been in force for all 55 African Union member states since 2005, every country on the continent must allow women to have a medical abortion in situations involving rape, sexual assault, incest, and situations in which the mother’s or the fetus’s mental or physical health is in danger.

Though more than a dozen of its nations still lack legislation allowing women to get abortions, Africa is the only continent in the world to have such a pact. Misinformation is widespread in many nations, even in those where the procedure has been permitted, and recent research criticized Google and Meta’s policies.

Although there is a legal right to an abortion, this may not always translate into reality. Particularly poorer nations, like Ethiopia and Benin, may allow abortions in some situations but struggle to provide access to them for all women.

Word-of-mouth is how many women find out about their alternatives. Access to correct information on abortion was restricted in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, according to a recent study by MSI and the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which was conducted by Google and Meta, the company that runs Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

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