Bishops Conference alarmed by teenage abortions

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
The Most Rev. Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum (4th right) addressing the press.

The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has expressed concern over what it described as “the increased rate of unsafe abortion committed by teenagers in the country”.

The Bishop Responsible for Health of the GCBC, the Most Rev. Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum, told journalists yesterday that the high number of unsafe abortions recorded by Catholic hospitals and clinics across the country was a cause for worry.

The Most Rev. Afrifah-Agyekum was speaking to journalists after briefing them on a two-day pro-life conference that the GCBC will hold in Accra on August 7 and 8, 2015.

To be held on the theme: “Promoting Life and Family Values in the Continuing Culture of Death”, the conference seeks to promote the values of family life and encourage political and religious leaders to build up an authentic culture of life in the country.

The Most Rev. Afrifah-Agyekum said the girls involved in abortion were normally rushed to the hospitals and clinics in cars, on motorbikes and bicycles after taking various concoctions, which included broken bottles.

The Bishop of Koforidua said sometimes the foetus died, while on other occasions both the mother and the foetus died as a result of the unsafe abortion.

Rate of abortion

“You will be amazed at the rate of abortion being carried out even by girls in junior high schools (JHSs). Because we work in the villages, we have this information,” he said, but he did not give the figures.

“All types of things are used to terminate the foetus in the womb,” he added.

The fear factor

The Most Rev. Afrifah-Agyekum said young men were becoming more sexually active than before, hence the increased rate of teenage pregnancy.

He said teenage girls were impregnated by such young men who did not have any source of income or even shelter.

With that knowledge, he said, the teenage girls most probably knew that those responsible for their pregnancies could not take care of them in pregnancy and after delivery, hence their decision to get rid of the foetuses.

Pro-life conference

Earlier, the Most Rev. Afrifah-Agyekum had said the leadership of the Catholic Church in Ghana recognised that a great responsibility was placed on them by their apostolic mandate to reiterate the church’s true and beautiful teachings on the sanctity of life, the beauty of love, the purity of marriage and family life.

Therefore, he said, it was the expectation of the GCBC that the pro-life conference would lead the public to a deeper reflection on the Gospel of Life and appreciation of the sanctity of life, the beauty of love, the purity of marriage and the dignity of human sexuality.

“Recognising that Ghana is at the heart of the storm and struggle between the culture of life and the culture of death in Africa and realising the urgent need for the church in Ghana to rise up and promote the Gospel of life in speaking against the emerging culture of death in our country, we have decided to hold this pro-life conference,” he explained.

Activities lined up for the conference include a prayer campaign, lectures and a march through some principal streets of Accra.