Rwanda to release 50 women jailed for having abortions
Activists welcome pardons, but call for relaxation of abortion laws and an end to punitive measures such as life sentences
Christophe Hitayezu in Kigali
Published on Thu 21 May 2020
Rwanda is to release 50 women who were jailed for having abortions after a personal pardon was issued by the country’s president, Paul Kagame.
Human rights activists welcomed the pending release of the women, six of whom had been given life sentences – the highest penalty available to the courts – two serving 25 years and the others terms ranging from 12 months to 20 years.
Historic progress on abortion rights in Rwanda
May 6, 2019
Last month, Rwanda made historic progress toward advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights: President Paul Kagame pardoned 367 women and girls who had been jailed for abortion, and a ministerial order broadened the conditions under which people can access abortion. As part of the order, girls under 18 have the right to terminate a pregnancy before 22 weeks.
“These steps recognize abortion as a health and rights issue and acknowledge that imprisoning women for abortion does not address the reasons why women have abortions,” says Gillian Kane, Ipas senior policy and advocacy advisor.
Paul Kagame orders release of women and girls jailed over abortion in Rwanda
Women’s rights activists welcome presidential pardon of 367 female prisoners as evidence of progress
Fri 5 Apr 2019
Rwanda’s president has pardoned hundreds of girls and women jailed for abortion.
The women are expected to be released immediately under the presidential prerogative.