29 June 2021
Patricia Figuera Ochoa, Communications Officer, SPOG
In Panama, the fundamental and basic rights of women and girls – such as education, work and political participation – continue to be violated. These violations extend to rights in sexual and reproductive health, which should allow women and girls to access services such as prenatal control, contraception and, in specific cases and as permitted by Panamanian law, safe and legal abortion services. The scale of violence against women, adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality in Panama undoubtedly reflects the existence of a public health problem, which has been exacerbated dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to gynecologist and obstetrician Ruth De León, former president of the Panamanian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SPOG) and Focal Point of the Advocating for Safe Abortion Project (ASAP), SPOG remains concerned about the potential risks that the pandemic poses to women. Although care services are open, restrictions could continue to be a trigger for gender-based, domestic and sexual violence, which can cause unplanned pregnancies, as well as possible induced abortions. These, when performed in unsafe environments, could result in the death of the woman or girl.