Health Development Initiative (HDI), an NGO that organises and promotes community-based healthcare development in the country, wants abortion legalised.
This was raised, yesterday, during a workshop to assess the role the media can play to promote and improve human and women’s rights, particularly the latter’s access to safe abortion.
The HDI Programmes Manager, Cassien Havugimana, said that unsafe abortion sometimes causes avoidable death and other complications.
“Deaths due to unsafe abortion make up 13 percent of maternal deaths, according to the World Health Organisation. Unsafe abortion, therefore, pauses many risks to women’s health,” Havugimana said.
He added that since abortion is criminal in Rwanda, many women perform the procedure without medical and professional help, thus putting their health in jeopardy.
Havugimana said even those attended to by a professional do so in fear and pressure since both the doctor and patient are worried of the repercussions if caught.
He warned that the country would not achieve the Millennium Development Goal Five which targets to improve maternal health, while still criminalising abortion.
“Criminalising abortion is a hindrance for Rwanda to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5 which aims at improving maternal mortality, a goal Rwanda is driven to accomplish,” he added.
The Advocacy and Communications Officer of HDI, Christine Calouro, said that decriminalising abortion is critical in achieving women’s rights.