The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) has reiterated its opposition against abortion, emphasising that abortion is not a method of family planning.
The United Nations agency said it rather accords the highest priority to voluntary family planning to prevent unintended pregnancies to eliminate recourse to abortion.”
Disclosing this at a day sensitization seminar for media men in Calabar, the UNFPA Communication Analyst, Ahajia Kori Habib said that UNFPA helps governments to strengthen their national health systems to deal effectively with complications of unsafe abortions, thereby saving women’s lives.
She explained that eight per cent of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions, therefore, its impact on women’s health, lives and well-being should be addressed as nations agreed at Cairo.
Said she: “Post-abortion care should be provided; where abortion is legal, national health systems should make it safe and accessible.”
On how emergency contraception works, Ahajia Habib said “according to the World Health Organization (WHO), emergency contraception, or post-coital contraception, refers to methods of contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy in the first few days after intercourse.”
She said it is intended for emergency use following unprotected intercourse, contraceptive failure or misuse (such as forgotten pills or torn condoms), rape or coerced sexual relations. Emergency contraceptive pills cannot interrupt an established pregnancy or harm a developing embryo.
The Communication Analyst pointed out that UNFPA’s mandate as established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1973 and reaffirmed in 1993, is amongst others to build the knowledge and the capacity to respond to needs in population and family planning; to promote awareness in both developed and developing countries of population problems and possible strategies to deal with these problems.
Others is to assist their population problems in the forms and means best suited to the individual countries’ needs; to assume a leading role in the United Nations system in promoting population programmes, and to coordinate projects supported by the Fund and noted that the goal of UNFPA is to deliver a world a world where every pregnancy is wanted.
‘Every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. To accomplish this, UNFPA works to ensure that all people, especially women and young people, are able to access high quality sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, so that they can make informed and voluntary choices about their sexual and reproductive lives.
In his comment, the Head of Office UNFPA Cross River State Kenneth Ehouzou said UNFPA was to establish Partner Round Table to discuss teenage pregnancies, mothers not want to be pregnant now and mothers dying during child birth and articulate some intervention that we can reduce the damage done to girls child and would be mothers that had already existed.
He regretted the alarming rate of maternal mortality rates in cross river state. “We know maternal mortality rates is beyond over 100, 000 live birth in cross river state, so it cause for serious intervention, we cannot continue to do lip service to life of our people” he stated. We know the situation of pregnancies in cross river state, if I am not mistaken, it is close to 20% teenage pregnancies.’’
According to him, “One organization cannot resolve it, to have young girls pregnant, young mothers not going to school and to have abortion in the state, baby being dumped girls not going to school, it not responsibilities of one organization but after the wise up campaign, a lot is going to be done.”
The Head of Office who commended the state government for providing conducive environment and support said that the wife of the governor Dr. Linda Ayade has indicated interest to support the Wise up campaign. “The wife of the state governor, Dr Linda Ayade has graciously accepted to support the campaign and to lead it in the state. We are working with her pet project, Maedistric Foundation to ensure that this project kick start on time and achieve the goal that we set for it.”
“When you say, pregnancy is not wanted, you have to provide the means for a girl or woman if she doesn’t want to be pregnant, she has the right to decide for herself to make choice that I want to be pregnant or not. Now for a woman or a girl to make that decisions she need to be empowered, she need to be assisted with the right information and the services for her to make that decision by her own.”