SENEGAL – A young couple, both school students, sent to prison for a month for abortion

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SENEGAL – A young couple, both school students, sent to prison for a month for abortion
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Oct 20, 2017

In Senegal, abortion is illegal in all cases except to save the woman’s life; approval for inducing “therapeutic abortions” must come from three doctors, one of whom is independently assigned by the courts. Giving advice on where or how to access abortion is a criminal offence. There were an estimated 51,500 abortions in Senegal in 2012, and virtually all of them were clandestine and unsafe, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Seventy-three per cent of poor, rural women who underwent abortions had complications, compared to a third of non-poor, urban women.

According to the Senegalese Association of Women Lawyers (AJS), 16% of women in prison in Senegal are there for infanticide – including some who got pregnant following rape. One example is Ina, who was working as a domestic at the age of 16 and was raped by a security guard in the neighbourhood where she worked. She delivered alone in her mother’s home and left the dead baby in an unfinished building nearby. The police knocked on her door a few days later. She spent five years in jail.

The AJS recorded 153 cases of women in prison for this reason, with the support of the Regional Office for West Africa of the UN Human Rights Office during joint visits to the five prisons in Senegal that hold the majority of female detainees. According to the Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme (FIDH), another 22% are in prison for illegal abortion. From 2013 to 2014, the Family Child Guidance Centre recorded 420 cases of sexual abuse of girls aged 7 to 14 years. Nearly 30% of them became pregnant and, abortion not being permitted, 10-15% of them had to undergo a caesarean section because of their young age.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall said in 2015 that he may eventually support legalization of abortion in cases of rape or incest.

In September 2017, the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Dakar jailed a teenage boy and his girlfriend, both secondary school pupils, for the crimes of abortion and complicity in abortion. Without informing their parents, for fear of reprisal, the two ended their four-month pregnancy in August using a medication called “Sittotem” purchased from a clandestine pharmacy. The girl began to bleed heavily and was taken to hospital. In court, their lawyers asked for clemency so that they could continue in school. They were convicted, however, and given a month in prison each.

SOURCES: Leral.net, by Kady Faty, Ousseynou Wade, 22 September 2017 ; New Yorker, by Allyn Gaestrel & Ricci Shryock, 1 October 2017 ; OHCHR/PHOTO, 13 March 2015 ; FIDH, 28 November 2014

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Source: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/senegal-a-young-couple-both-school-students-sent-to-prison-for-a-month-for-abortion/

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The Price of Senegal’s Strict Anti-Abortion Laws

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The Price of Senegal’s Strict Anti-Abortion Laws

By Allyn Gaestel and Ricci Shryock
Oct 1, 2017

The Mbeubeuss landfill, on the outskirts of the Senegalese capital, Dakar, feels almost volcanic to visitors. Mountainous piles of waste encircle wide craters, where trash fires spew smoke and spit ash into the sky. The odor is nauseating: decaying foods and clothes, burnt plastic and tires. Sporadically, the scent of decomposing human flesh emerges from the fetor. The bodies are those of unwanted newborn children discarded in the city, gathered by trash collectors, and found by workers at the dump. El Hajj Diallo, the president of the landfill's collective of waste pickers, told us that, because he has found so many dead babies here, he wants Senegal to legalize abortion, at least for victims of rape and incest.

Continued at source: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-price-of-senegals-strict-anti-abortion-laws

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In Senegal, cases of infanticide raise the question of legalisation of abortion

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SENEGAL – In Senegal, cases of infanticide raise the question of legalisation of abortion
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Sept 22, 2017

Newborn infants found dead, often in public places, are most of the time the outcome of rape, incest or adultery. In February, the body of a three-day-old baby was found in a plastic bag under a truck in the parking lot of the Stadium Léopold-Sédar-Senghor in Dakar. In the same month, another was found in a market gardeners’ stall. In the past two years, 14 similar cases have been identified in garbage dumps, and body parts of others have been found that may have been eaten by wild dogs. Each case is now recorded and reported to the police.

These cases reveal a worrying phenomenon in Senegal: infanticide.

Continued: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/senegal-cases-of-infanticide-raise-the-question-of-legalisation-of-abortion/

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The Association of Women Jurists of Senegal Pressure Government

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The Association of Women Jurists of Senegal Pressure Government
by Safe Abortion
Feb 10, 2017

The Association of Women Jurists of Senegal continue to put pressure on the government for abortion to be legalised following rape and incest. Some 250 cases of rape of girls aged 13 to 18 years which led to a pregnancy in 52 cases  were reported in the first 11 months of 2016 in Senegal. Of those, at least 25 were cases of incest followed by pregnancy, yet abortion on the grounds of rape and incest is not permitted. “This situation is grave,” said the President of the Association, Mme Fanta Ndiaye Gueye. She called on the government to reconsider its position without delay by implementing a change in the law. She pointed out that Senegal signed the Maputo Protocol  in 2014, which also calls for abortion to be made legal and safe on a number of grounds, including following rape and incest. The Association of Women Jurists has made it a goal to convince the whole society of the justice of this cause, but the road is a long one, not least due to the conservative opposition from both Muslim and Christian religious figures.

SOURCE: Le 360 Afrique.com,  by Mar Bassine, 4 February 2017 ; PHOTO

SEE ALSO: Senegal: avec plus de 50.000 avortements clandestins par an, faut-il autoriser l’IVG?, 20 October 2016

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Source: International Campaign for women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/the-association-of-women-jurists-of-senegal-pressure-government/

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Clinics for World’s Vulnerable Brace for Trump’s Anti-Abortion Cuts

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Clinics for World’s Vulnerable Brace for Trump’s Anti-Abortion Cuts

By DIONNE SEARCEY, NORIMITSU ONISHI and SOMINI SENGUPTA
JAN. 26, 2017

DAKAR, Senegal — The clinic, tucked discreetly inside the student health center on the University of Dakar campus, prescribes birth control pills, hands out condoms and answers questions about sex that young women are nervous about asking in this conservative Muslim country.

The clinic performs no abortions, nor does it discuss the procedure or give advice on where to get one. Senegal, by and large, outlaws abortion. But for other health services like getting contraceptives, said Anne Lancelot, the Sahel director at the organization that runs the clinic, “there is a very high demand.”

Now, under a Reagan-era policy revived by President Trump, the clinic may no longer be able to count on aid money from the United States Agency for International Development, part of a ban on providing abortion counseling overseas that could curtail a broad range of health services, including those that go well beyond abortion.

[continued at link]
Source, New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/world/africa/clinics-health-care-cuts-abortion-trump.html?_r=0

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Senegalese workshop calling for abortion law reform starts conversation in the media

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by Safe Abortion, Dec 16, 2016

At a workshop held on 16 October 2016, co-hosted by the Association des Femmes Medecins (AFEMS – Association of Women Doctors), the Population Council, and the Association des Juristes Senegalaise (AJS – Senegalese Association of Women Lawyers), the high rate of clandestine abortions in the country, estimated at 51,500 in 2012, and the fact that 3.6% of maternal deaths in 2010 were due to unsafe abortion, were cited and the meeting called for the liberalisation of the nation’s laws on abortion. Also cited was the fact that some 3% of women in prison in the country were there for infanticide.

At the workshop, a government representative spoke in favour of decriminalising abortion in cases of rape, incest or threat to the woman’s life, in line with the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa , also known as the Maputo Protocol, that was ratified by Senegal in 2005. The workshop was attended by National Assembly Deputy, Hawa Dia Thiam, who said the proposed law reform would mean the country was meeting its international obligations under the Maputo Protocol. The meeting made a number of news headlines.

In response, Jamra, a conservative Islamist organisation, announced the launch of a state-by-state tour of Senegal to “raise awareness” on religious opposition to abortion. However, some recognition was given to abortion to save the woman’s life and in cases of rape.

Mainstream media sources have started a frank and nationwide conversation on the Maputo protocol and abortion. Le Populaire and many other sources have described the abortion rates as “alarming” and “flabbergasting.” However, the media reports also seem to have picked up on the workshop’s main message – that given the reality of clandestine abortions, the country should legalise the practice.

SOURCES: Senenews, 19 October 2016 ; Le 360 Afrique, by Ibrahima Diallo, 20 October 2016

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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