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Concern over unsafe abortions in Papua New Guinea

IRIN News | Health & Medicine

HEALTH EXPERTS ARE CONCERNED about the number of unsafe abortions taking place in Papua New Guinea.

“Nobody knows the actual numbers, but it’s clear the number of school-age girls [having unsafe abortions] is unacceptably high,” said Lisa Vallely, head of the maternal and child health section of the PNG Institute of Medical Research.

“These are the figures at the hospital level only. We still don’t know what is happening outside in the community,” she said.

A six-month study headed by Ms Vallely looked at all abortions in the Goroka Hospital. Of 120 reported miscarriages admitted to the hospital over the period, 23% were induced abortions, with more than half taking place 12-26 weeks into pregnancy.

Most were young girls, attending school or higher education, and most of these induced abortions took place using prescription-only tablets purchased through healthcare workers or at a pharmacy.

Others reported using traditional herbs and physical means, including strenuous exercise, inserting a stick into the vagina and tying a rope around the abdomen.

Many women resorted to abortions for fear of shaming their family, so they can continue their education or because they are breastfeeding another child, the study found.

A recent study of the situation in Goroka highlighted sepsis due to unsafe abortion as a leading cause of maternal mortality.

Abortion is illegal in PNG unless two doctors agree a woman’s life may be at risk. However, the practice of induced abortions is widely practiced, health workers say.


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Annsli Kabekabe

Young girls, why involve yourself in a relationship that you know you won't benefit from.

Boys will always be around, the world will never runs out of them.

Killing an innocent life is the worst crime a woman could ever commit.

Never mind the shame you bring to your family, your education can wait and the discrimination you receive from others will never hurt you for a lifetime.

Women and girls, it is better to keep your child.

You and your so-called partner created this child, so have the sense of responsibility to take of him/her.

Who cares what people thing of you, they can rot in their own criticism and judgement.

The most important thing is you love your child and your pride in being a mother; they won't be the one's who judge you on judgement day. God will.

If your partner leaves you then move on, what's the point in waiting and crying over spilt milk. Be strong because you're capable of doing anything.

You can either be a single mother or look for a guy who can love you and your child. Heads up, women and girls, the world doesn't end once you find out you're pregnant.

Sharlene Kendo

Abortion is illegal in PNG unless the mother's life is at risk. It does not say if the girl/woman does not want the baby or fear of shame to her family then she can go and get an abortion.

It is just the same as killing someone else. Only it's worse because this life didn't have a choice. Woman who abort their babies should serve time in prison.

Doctors or health care workers who perfrom abortions should be dealt with accordingly. They of all people should know the health risks abortion poses to females who abort their babies.

Some will have difficulties giving birth later on and others will no longer be able to have children. How would you feel if the only child that you could have was the one you killed?

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