Abortion in Ghana: Legal or Illegal? An Observation at the Abura Dunkwa District Hospital

Bill K. Anaba, Song Wei Qi, Bao Ke Yong, Michael G. Danso


Background: Elective abortion with its medico-legal controversies is a major worldwide debatable topic. The question whether to legalize abortion or not continues to be a contentious affair.  The public interest nature of this debate has led to the emergence of two advocacy groups: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. The former argues that the unborn fetus is human with life. The latter strongly postulates that women should have choices of what happens to their body. Whilst this debate lingers on, we decided to do a four month clinical observation of the reality on the ground in Ghana’s Abura Dunkwa Ditrict Hospital.  Methods: This was a clinical observational study. It covered a four month clinical management of abortion related patients at the Abura Dunkwa district hospital of Ghana.  History of presenting complaints and social/ family histories were particularly noted in details. We then compared our observation against abortion laws around the world and Ghana in particular. Findings: we observed that the lack of publicity and agreed interpretation of Ghana’s abortion laws have resulted in criminal abortions leading to complications such as incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, sepsis, etc. We also discovered that many criminal abortions   in fact met Ghana’s abortion Acts’ ‘exceptions for termination of pregnancy’Conclusion: Ghana’s abortion Acts  though do not make abortion legal, the laws have permitted enough grounds for justifiable  terminations of pregnancies,   yet ignorance of the law has led to women’s continued engagement in criminal and unsafe abortions leading to severe morbidities and  mortalities

Keywords: Abortifacients, hemorrhage, sepsis, morbidity, mental health, adjustment disorder

DOI: 10.7176/JHMN/61-02

Publication date: April 30th 2019

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ISSN 2422-8419

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