Abortion in Uganda : the neglected dangers
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Abortion can be defined as an ending of a pregnancy by removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion while deliberate methods done to end a pregnancy is called an induced abortion. In this paper, emphasis was put on induced abortion where globally 56% of unintended pregnancies end up in induced abortion. (Singh S et al., 2016). As of 2010-2014, an estimated 55.9 million abortions occur each year with majority from developing regions at 49.3 million (with a rate of 36 per 1,000) while in developed regions it stands at 6.6 million (with a rate of 27 per 1,000) (Sedgh G et al., 2016). Abortion in Uganda is illegal however the Ugandan Ministry of Health's 2006 National Policy Guidelines and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights gives a number of specific cases in which women have the right to seek an abortion, that includes rape, sexual violence, or incest, or when the woman has pre-existing conditions such as HIV or cervical cancer. It can also be performed by a licensed medical doctor in a situation where the woman's life is deemed to be at risk. 52% of all pregnancies in Uganda are unintended, and about a quarter of these unintended pregnancies end in abortion each year. It is estimated that 314,300 abortions took place in 2013 alone translating to 14% or at a rate of 39 per 1,000 of all pregnancies of women aged 15-49 in the country according to a 2013 brief from Guttmacher Institute. Unsafe abortion practices in Uganda have consequently led to around 5 million Ugandan women annually getting injured or getting disabled due to abortion-related consequences and 5.3% of maternal deaths occurring as a result of abortion complications. Abortion has also led to increased emotional risks which have a lasting negative impact on a woman. It is recommended that a clarification on Uganda’s abortion law and policies be done at all levels in all languages since this will raise awareness on the contents and the scope of Uganda’s abortion law among the medical community, the judicial system and women.