The solution is not in the drastic prohibition of termination of an unwanted pregnancy (during monism in Albania hundreds of women lost their lives in an attempt for illegal abortion), but in prevention!

Esmeralda Keta

In 2021, official data in Albania showed that for every 6.2 births there was one abortion, while the most dramatic figures were among 17-year-olds where 104 abortions were registered per 1000 alive births?

But is abortion an alternative, a solution? Or is it, as some consider it, a “murder”?

In the context when the demographics of Albania have changed significantly and during 2021 the natural increase of the population (birth-death) was -3,296 inhabitants, marking for the first time negative natural additions, these seemingly small figures are quite significant to narrate the complex relationship of Albanians with another delicate process: abortion.

The harsh 45-year ban during Enver Hoxha’s communist regime, when abortion was categorically banned, had two main reasons: the first was to stimulate mothers to have many children in order to increase the country’s population, and the second was keeping women’s independence under control.

In a country like Albania, coming out of this dramatic relationship and where girls are haunted by the advice “we live for the honor”, to stop a girl / woman to decide whether to have an unwanted pregnancy or not, means to deny her the right to decide for herself and the role she will hold in society, a right acquired too late.

Adopted in 1995, the law in Albania that formalizes abortion until the 12th week, has remained static, has never changed, although the debate for or against abortion has been heated for years.

Similar to Albania, even in Kosovo, abortion is closely linked to morality, but there the law has taken some steps forward, as abortion is allowed up to the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

In this situation, lessons must be learned from the past, which proves that the solution is not found in the drastic prohibition of termination of an unwanted pregnancy (during monism in Albania hundreds of women lost their lives trying to have an illegal abortion), but in prevention!

In this sense, forcing someone to have an unwanted pregnancy, or denying them access to health services by orienting them towards an unsafe abortion, whatever the institution or individual has violated the right of women to decide for themselves about their body.

For all these reasons it would be better when discussing abortion not to see the woman only within the reproductive role, stripping her of her human rights.

The right to abortion is one of the most acute debates since the Alabama state senate reinstated in 2019 a decision to ban abortion at any stage, even if it is a pregnancy that is the product of a rape or incest . Considered the most dramatic move since the legalization of abortion in 1973, the draft provides for up to 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years in prison for performing the procedure.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate is 37 per 1000 in countries that ban abortion totally and 34 per 1000 people in countries that generally allow abortion. So the difference is very minimal.

The statistics speak for themselves. It is utterly wrong to seek solutions to deny access to these health services, instead we have to empower women and girls across countries to choose under what circumstances they want to have children, without denying a new life and risking their lives.


Esmeralda Keta, journalist at Top Channel. She has been practicing journalism for 22 years, focusing mainly on investigative journalism