by Steven Ertelt
October 11, 2006
Accra, Ghana (LifeNews.com) — A judge in Ghana, a western African nation, has ordered a 14 year-old rape victim to consider having an abortion. Judge Mustapha Logoh has asked doctors to determine how far along in the pregnancy the rape victim is to determine whether an abortion can take place.
Logoh said the girl, who attends high school, should consider having an abortion to "save her future" telling her that she is "too young to give birth."
He said that by sending the accused rapist, 25 year-old Fredrick Essimah, to prison that there would be no one to care for the girl and her baby. After issued the order he deferred Essimah’s jail sentencing until October 24.
Essimah had befriended the teenager and slept with her in her room almost nightly, according to a report in the Accra Daily Mail newspaper.
One night, he heard the girl’s father approach and fled her room through a window. The teen’s father questioned her about him and she indicated they had been having sex frequently.
The girl’s father, according to the newspaper, told her not to allow him into her room again, but a teacher at her school soon noticed effects from the girl’s pregnancy.
Prosecutor Akwasi Sarfo-Adjei told the court that the girl was taken to a local hospital and a test showed she was three months pregnant. The teen said Essimah was the father and he told police in a statement after he was apprehended that he had befriended the teen.
Though the judge appears to be pressing for the teenager to have an abortion, research in the United States shows teenagers are not better able to handle an abortion than dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.
A new study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence in August finds that adolescent girls who have an abortion are five times more likely to seek help for psychological and emotional problems than those who keep their baby.
Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a research psychologist at Bowling Green State University, led the study.
Coleman also found that teenagers who have abortions instead of carrying the pregnancy to term were also over three times more likely to report subsequent trouble sleeping, and nine times more likely to report subsequent marijuana use.
"When women feel forced into abortion by others or by life circumstances, negative post-abortion outcomes become more common," she wrote. "Adolescents are generally much less prepared to assume the responsibility of parenthood and are logically the recipients of pressure to abort."
Coleman pointed out that, while having a child as a teen may be problematic, "the risks of terminating seem to be even more pronounced."
"The scientific evidence is now strong and compelling," Coleman said. "Abortion poses more risks to women than giving birth."