Senegal’s harsh abortion law imprisons women and girls

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Senegal’s harsh abortion law imprisons women and girls

By News Ghana
Apr 26, 2018

Senegal’s criminal code completely prohibits abortion, while the Code of Medical Ethics allows an abortion if three doctors agree that the procedure is necessary to save the woman’s life. This is so stringent that the possibility of a legal abortion is very rare.[1] Ultimately, almost no one succeeds, forcing women to turn to unsafe options – carrying risks of complications, imprisonment, and social stigma.

Fatou Kiné Camara, President of the Association des Juristes Sénégalaises (Association of Women Jurists/AJS), who work to promote and extend the legal rights of Senegalese women,[2] stresses: “Poor people in Senegal are lucky if they see one doctor in their lifetime, let alone three.”[3]

Continued: https://www.newsghana.com.gh/senegals-harsh-abortion-law-imprisons-women-and-girls/

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Senegal: The law, trials and imprisonment for abortion

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FEATURE - Senegal: The law, trials and imprisonment for abortion
24 April 2018
International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

by Nandini Archer, Alice Finden, Hannah Pearson
Edited by Marge Berer

Introduction

The law on abortion in Senegal is both restrictive and unclear. Although the country’s criminal code completely prohibits pregnancy termination, the Code of Medical Ethics allows an abortion if three doctors agree that the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life. Given these circumstances, almost no abortions are legal and unsafe abortion leads to a high maternal mortality ratio. A combination of an inherited colonial penal code, and the influence of religion and social stigma, mean that despite continuing attempts by advocates to change the law, cases of sometimes prolonged pre-trial detention and imprisonment for illegal abortion and for infanticide among women unable to obtain an abortion, are rife, especially among poor and rural women.

This report looks at Senegal’s abortion law and policy, the prevalence of unsafe abortions, attempts to reform the law, the process of criminalisation of women, the extent of infanticide, and women’s stories, based on a range of published sources and valuable input from Senegalese human rights and women’s rights advocates.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/feature-senegal-the-law-trials-and-imprisonment-for-abortion-24-april-2018?e=372dd34034

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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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