15 Aug 2006

Fiji's National Adviser on Health does not support legalisation of abortion

7:57 pm on 15 August 2006

Fiji's National Adviser on Family Health, Dr Josiah Famuela, does not support a call for abortions to be made legal in the country.

There are some restricted cases where abortion is permitted but two womens' organisations say terminations should be decriminalised and made more widely available.

This follows an increase in the number of pre-teen pregnancies and several cases of infanticide.

The Fiji Women's Rights Movement says women are forced to have illegal abortions in backstreet alleys which are unsafe when instead they should be able to go to government clinics supervised by doctors.

But, Dr Famuela says there are other options available.

"A woman at that stage should be seeking counselling and social assistance as to what to do with her baby. Rather than aborting why not get care of the pregnancy stage and then send the young infant for adoption. I mean, that's a better option than resorting to having a medical procedure to terminate a life."

Dr Famuela says the Ministry of Health fully supports calls by the womens' organisations for sex education to be presented to primary school age children.