The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) centre in Cape Coast undertakes at least three abortions a day. Clients to the facility come from as far as Elubo in the Western Region and Kumasi in the Ashanti Region for services.
The Youth Programme officer of the PPAG, Mr Michael Tagoe, said this had been the situation for the past four years. This translates to about 2,000 aborted pregnancies over the period.
Abortion is illegal in Ghana and is only to be conducted when the pregnancy is the result of rape or defilement or incest and the abortion or miscarriage is requested by the victim or her next of kin of the person if she lacks the capacity to make such request.
Again, one could abort a pregnancy where the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman or injury to her physical or mental health or where there is substantial risk that if the child is born it may suffer from or later develop a serious physical abnormality or disease.
Mr Tagoe said the situation presented a grim picture of the many unplanned pregnancies in the country.
Mr Tagoe was speaking at a workshop to sensitise heads of vocational institutions, apprenticeship and artisanal groups to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender Equality in Cape Coast last Wednesday.
Sixty participants selected from districts including the Assin South, Upper Denkyira West, Komenda-Edina Eguafo Abrem, Ajumako Enyan Essiam, Ekumfi and Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira districts of the Central Region were trained in the three-session workshop.
It was organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA) in collaboration with the Central Regional Coordinating Council with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mr Tagoe stated that many pregnancy termination cases were unreported with some undergoing dangerous abortions.
He said it was important for particularly women to take responsibility for their own health, including adopting contraceptives to help prevent unplanned pregnancies.
He said it would be unfortunate for a woman with all the available contraceptives to die from unsafe abortions and, therefore, advised the participants to take up roles in educating their communities on responsible sexual behaviour.
The Central Regional Director of Gender, Mrs Thywill Kpe, urged the participants to treat the other sex with respect.
She further advised them not to shield perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence but to report to law enforcement agencies for the right actions to be taken.
“Nobody wishes to be raped and so we must not condemn the rape victims and make them feel as if it was their fault,” she added.
An Investigator with the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Mr Richard Boadi-Twum, said men were mostly the culprits when it came to sexual offences.
He explained that sex was done in obscurity and it would take the vigilance of all and a willingness to divulge information for the police to get the perpetrators to face the law.
The Regional Director of the NYA, Mr Emmanuel Sodja Mantey, said the workshop was necessary to help educate the various communities to live planned and enhanced lives.
The Focal Person, Mr David Alan Paintsil, urged parents in particular to be vigilant and ensure that their children were safe during this COVID-19 pandemic period.
He also urged the participants to educate their communities on SGBV to help reduce the number of cases in the region.