The writer is a young leader with the Women Deliver and chairperson of the Ipas Ghana Youth advisory board.
At the Africa leadership summit on safe legal abortion in Addis Ababa on the 19th and 20th Januray 2017 , Political, health and human rights leaders from more than 10 African countries issued a declaration calling for an end to legal barriers to safe abortion in Africa. This declaration comes at a critical moment when President Donald Trump has reinstated the global gag rule, But for Africa, with or without a “global gag rule” there is no room to relent on efforts to save the lives the over 47,000 women who die each year due to unsafe abortion.
Observing that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) is implementing the Campaign for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Africa and the African Union commitment to investing in young people through harnessing the demographic dividend, there is the need for all stakeholders, especially young people in Africa to not only commit to safe abortion advocacy but take action towards putting pressure on their respective governments to repeal legal barriers to safe abortion services.
Two women deliver young leaders, Richard Dzikunu and Ephraim Kisangala who represented the voice of millions of young people in Africa and the rest of the world at this summit emphasized the urgency with which African governments should Invest in effective preventive measures, including comprehensive sexuality education, elimination of gender discrimination and sexual violence, and full access to all modern contraceptive methods for young people.
As young leaders in sexual and reproductive health and rights, we see the negative impact of restrictive abortion laws every day. We are concerned that some African States are yet to ratify the Maputo Protocol and that those that have are yet to implement.
A call to action for young people
We call on all young people to take action.If you have had an abortion, or know someone who has, please break the walls of silence around the experience. Reach out to women friends, family, or coworkers. We all need to know we are not alone. Call a radio talk show, share a post on social media. Speak out against criminalization of abortion. Champion a woman’s right to choose. Don’t let anti-choice views be the only ones. Above all, Write petitions to your state legislators, and the President urging them to “do all in their power to protect reproductive freedom for women.