ESOG Warns, Restricting Access to Abortion Care Harms Women and Families

When to become a parent, how one becomes a parent, and what pregnancy decisions each person makes are incredibly complicated personal choices. For individuals with complex medical or family histories, these decisions often require partnering with clinicians to achieve the best outcomes. Even when a pregnancy is planned and wanted, there are times when abortion procedures must be performed to save a life. 

ESOG members are dedicated to achieving the best health for all. While members understand that abortion is an emotionally charged issue with passionate, thoughtful people on both sides, and many different diverse views and perspectives, members have a responsibility to do everything possible to keep their patients safe. Therefore, ESOG stands with its members across the country who works daily to help individuals with reproductive decisions. As The Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advocates, decisions about when to continue and when to end a pregnancy are medical decisions and must be individualized in consultation with clinicians. 

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Criminal Code, Proclamation No. 414/2004 ( 9th May 2005 MOH directive), the abortion part provisions from Articles 551-552 have significantly contributed to the improvement of reproductive health outcomes, especially for marginalized and poor women who have been suffering from health inequities.

Before the endorsement of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Criminal Code, Proclamation No. 414/2004 ( 9th May 2005 MOH directive), fewer providers received the training needed to perform surgical abortions. There were many health deserts in which there were no clinicians who could end a pregnancy quickly in the setting of life-threatening bleeding, infection, or stillbirth. This directly led to higher rates and more disparate maternal morbidity and mortality statistics across the country. Therefore, we cannot tolerate similar poor reproductive health outcomes to happen again across the country. We always advocate for better reproductive health care, and better abortion care.

Members will never waiver in that commitment to put patient care above all else. Members will continue to work tirelessly to support their patients before, during, and after pregnancy. Members also stand ready to help those across the country who seek to provide equitable, evidence-based care. Members hope for a day soon when everyone has the local protections to medical care that every person deserves. 
The Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG)  released the following statement in response to any efforts which contradict The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Criminal Code, Proclamation No. 414/2004 ( 9th May 2005 MOH directive), the abortion part provisions from Articles 551-552. Abortion is essential health care, and reproductive freedom is an essential human right. Decisions about all health care, including abortion, are best made by an individual with support from the healthcare system.
Any efforts against The 2004 Criminal Code, the abortion part provisions from Articles 551-552, are unconscionable, signs of violation against individual freedom and human rights, and will be a dangerous move to worsen the morbidity and mortality rates among pregnant women, which already are high in our country. The 2004 Criminal Code (9th May 2005 MOH directive) on abortion care mainly benefited the most marginalized, poor women already suffering from health inequities.
ESOG supports the right of all women to access the full spectrum of reproductive health services, including abortion care which falls under the 2004 Criminal Code (9th May 2005 MOH directive ) on abortion care provisions.
ESOG encourages policymakers to protect access to safe and necessary abortion care and will continue to advocate for better equitable access to abortion care.
The Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ESOG), founded in 1992, is a medical professional society. ESOG represents more than 750 members who care for women, girls, and couples with a different spectrum of reproductive health problems and provides education, promotes research, and engages in advocacy to advance optimal and equitable reproductive health outcomes for all people who desire ob-gyn services and experience pregnancy.

ESOG Executive Board