Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality and unsafe abortions account for 10 percent of those deaths, says a report by the country's health ministry and a non-profit organisation IPAS.

Women and children displaced by recent heavy floods and mudslides wait for food ration in Freetown, Sierra Leone, August 19, 2017.
Women and children displaced by recent heavy floods and mudslides wait for food ration in Freetown, Sierra Leone, August 19, 2017. ( AP )

Women in Sierra Leone are dying from unsafe abortion methods as President Ernest Bai Koroma refused to sign a law legalising abortion in the West African country.

Sierra Leone's parliament has twice passed a bill that would allow women to terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks. 

But the bill has failed to become a law and it's been held up by religious groups who oppose it. 

Charles Vandi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs said the religious people opposes abortion as they say abortion is like killing, adding that but social experts say a woman who is raped or gang-raped will suffer another trauma when she allows that pregnancy. 

"We have to put all of these debates on the table and see where we can find a compromise," Vandi said.

A 2013 report by the Ministry of Health and non-profit organisation IPAS, said Sierra Leone has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality and unsafe abortions account for 10 percent of those deaths.

"I've had a few cases of women who - in fact one of the cases, she was a student and she had an unsafe abortion. She was admitted with bleeding. When I was actually going to see her and she was in a very bad way and she died," said Dr Rowland Taylor, a Gynaecologist.

TRT World's Caitlin McGee reports from Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Source: TRT World