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Liberian Doctors Want Legislature Speed Abortion Bill Passage

By Bill W. Cooper

As the debate concerning the passage of the revised health law, in respect to legalizing abortion in Liberia, rages on, several medical doctors are calling on the National Legislature to see the need to pass the law so as to ensure the safety and well-being of Liberian women.

The doctors, representing a diverse group of healthcare professionals, also called upon policy makers and the Liberian government to critically consider the broader implications of restrictive abortion laws, to prioritize the health and rights of Liberian girls and women.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, July 24, 2023, on clarity and additional facts on the need for a safe abortion in Liberia, Dr. Dahn Henry Tyler, on behalf of colleagues, said, “By legalizing abortion, Liberia can take a significant step towards promoting women’s rights, gender equality, engendering public health and, subsequently, instilling public confidence.

According to him, they believe in fostering a society that respects diverse opinions, while prioritizing the welfare of all citizens, noting, “So, let us come together to engage in open, evidence-based discussions, keeping in mind the best interests of Liberian women and the overall well-being of our nation.”

Dr. Tyler maintained that as clinicians and public health professionals, they are dedicated to promoting evidence-based policies and advocacies that prioritize the well-being and rights of all individuals across Liberia.

He explained that in as much as they acknowledge the rights of others to express their views on all matters, they also strongly disagree with the positions that continue to criminalize abortion, especially with the current burden on the health system in providing Post Abortion Care.

Dr. Tyler added that between the period of 2018 and 2019, the Health Management Information System of Liberia reported a total of 15,844 cases, requiring Post Abortion Care, reported at multiple health facilities.

He emphasized that the figure significantly underrepresents the true burden, due to the criminalization of abortion, leaving countless unreported cases and those who never made it to the facility alive.

Against this backdrop, the doctors Lead Person further indicated that they as clinicians, cannot begin to state the burden it has on them, mentally and physically, when providing care for these women who arrive at the health facilities, most times in critical condition.

“So, we believe that the component of the revised law proposing access to quality and safe abortion services, is a necessary step towards safeguarding Liberian women’s health, promoting gender equality, upholding reproductive rights, and maternal mortality in Liberia,” he concluded.

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