Guttmacher Institute: The first study of abortion among adolescents in Uganda released
The Guttmacher Institute and Makerere University in Uganda recently released the first study on abortion among young people in the country. It found that 57,000 abortions among Ugandan adolescents ages 15-19 took place in 2013. The study also shows that this age group had the highest abortion rate among sexually active women.
Education regarding sexual and reproductive health continues to be of great importance for women in Uganda. While abortion is legal under few circumstances — including to save a woman’s life, rape, incest or fetal abnormalities — safe abortion is not widely accessible. Many women are forced to resort to unsafe abortions, which contributes to high rates of maternal mortality.
Researchers found that adolescents seeking post-abortion care for complications resulting from an unsafe abortion or miscarriage did not face greater disadvantages in obtaining care, compared with women older than 20. However, compared with older married women, unmarried women – including unmarried adolescents – were more likely to experience severe complications.
Elizabeth Sully - a senior research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute and leading author of the study - stated:
“Still, sexual and reproductive health services tailored to adolescents’ unique needs remain vital.”
Marie Stopes Uganda family planning services tailored to meet the specific needs of adolescents and young women are necessary as ever. We are hopeful that our success in preventing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions in Uganda, which came in at 365,720 and 178,345 respectively in 2017 , will continue to grow.