By Zainab Kanu
Mr. Emmanuel Ugoji, a Nigerian Media Expert on abortion and antenatal health issues, has said that the 1861 Abortion Law of Sierra Leone is very old and needs very urgent review to help save the lives of women, especially young girls in the country.
Speaking to this paper in an exclusive interview, Mr. Ugoji said that Britain has revisited their abortion laws four times while those of this remain what they left at Independence on April 27, 1961.
He opined that the issue of abortion has never been treated with the seriousness it deserves.
He said medical practitioners, law makers, civil society, parents and guardians should all have a hand in the issue of abortion because it affects everybody either directly or indirectly.
He said surveys have revealed that between the ages of 15 to 28 most young girls in the world go through illegal abortions done by unprofessional people leading to a lot long term complications. He noted that abortion should be a matter of choice and not force.
He said Section 59 of the Abortion Laws of Sierra Leone which states that, “Whosoever shall unlawfully supply or procure poison or other noxious thing or any instrument or thing, knowing that the same is intended to be unlawfully used or employed with the intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman, whether she be or be not with a child, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the Court, to be kept in penal servitude for a term of three years, or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour.”
He maintained that to achieve a healthy life for young people, the Government should ensure that the abortion laws are revisited to reflect the present trends.
He said it will be also helpful for parents and guardians to discuss abortion and sexual related issues with to their children or wards so that they will be guided to access professional assistance when they are pregnant.