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Editorial: Liberia’s rising abortion cases are worrisome

Abortion in Liberia is illegal, but study that the country performs nearly 40,000 abortions annually, destroying innocent lives that have formed in fetuses is pure murder that should claim immediate concern of government and rights campaigners, including religious institutions.

According to the Liberia National Abortion Study, a total of 38,779 induced abortions occurred in Liberia yearly, translating to an induced abortion rate of 30.7/1,000 involving women (15-45 years) and induced abortion ratio of 229/1,000 lives birth.

“There were regional variations in the regional abortion rates, with North Central having the lowest abortion rates (6.6/1000) and South-Central having the highest 49.7/1000. Also, 14,555 women received care for abortion-related complications in facilities. 67% went to public facilities and 74% went to primary level facilities’’, says the report.

The study concludes that induced abortion is common in the country with most of the cases linked to unintended pregnancies.

Something seems to be missing here. There appears to be limited education on early sex and associated risks by schools, churches and mosques, and homes, not leaving out hospitals and health facilities.

Reproduction health needs to be taught in schools and religious institutions across the country to address issue of unwanted pregnancy that the report says is driving the prevalence of abortions in the society.

The report stresses full dissemination and implementation of the Revised Public Health Law of Liberia in all communities, health facilities with the involvement of policymakers to ensure community education and awareness on the danger of unsafe abortion, while considering existing legal status of abortion and current access point, like hospitals, stigma reduction, and awareness on a wide range of available family planning methods.

Parents and guardians or homes have their share of responsibility in this unsanctioned practice because it seems that discipline has been thrown out of the window and children, both girls and boys are left on their own to experiment sexually or practice early and uncontrolled sex. It should not be so. Lest we forget, the family is the first unit of society, and if discipline is compromised there, the society loses balance.

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In short, we need to limit the number of unwanted pregnancies thru vigorous and sustained sex and reproduction health education in all sectors of society in order to reverse the annual abortion cases.

This would require government support, working with partners. The sooner we begin, the better it would be for our population, for the report did not disclose how many deaths occurred during these abortions.   

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