General News of Friday, 7 September 2012
A former Reproductive Health Advisor in the erstwhile NPP administration, Professor Fred Sai says girls under 16 will stop patronizing quack health facilities to terminate their pregnancy if legitimate health providers do not turn them away.
A survey by the Adolescent Health Development Programme of the Ministry of Health revealed that over 16,000 young girls underwent legal abortions in Ghana between January and December 2011, 582 of whom were between the ages of 10 and 14.
The survey however revealed that the figures represented only a third of girls who underwent legal abortions last year.
This suggests that the majority of girls terminated their pregnancy through illegitimate means.
According to Professor Sai, these huge statistics could be averted if legitimate health providers are educated on the provisions of the law for statutory rape.
Section 58 of the Criminal Code of 1960 makes abortion a criminal offence in Ghana. But there are flexible exceptions to the law, under which a woman can demand termination of pregnancy, one of which is rape.
Professor Sai who has been advocating the appropriate implementation of the legalization of abortions says girls under 16 years are entitled to such legal termination of pregnancy because the age for statutory rape or defilement is below 16.
In an interview with XYZ News, Professor Sai said health providers must not deny pregnant girls below the age of 16 years the right to access legal abortion.
“Any time a girl under 16 is pregnant, she has statutorily been raped. You can catch the man or boy and deal with him as a rapist but you should not punish the girl also because she has suffered one” Prof. Sai said.
Professor Sai is also passionately advocating severe punishment for the self-acclaimed doctor who was captured in an investigative piece by ace journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas sexually molesting girls who visited his facility for abortions.
"I wish all quack Doctors will be rounded up and jailed. Infact the story that I read affected me so much and I wish the Doctor will be put in for life and will not be allowed to see the light ever".