Rwanda – Student arrested after fetus is found in dustbin on campus

Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
07 December 2023

Following the arrest of a student whose baby was found dead in a dustbin, university staff of the University of Rwanda’s college of arts and social sciences have been trying to restore calm on the campus.

The baby was found near the women’s hostel on 1 December and has prompted an immediate investigation by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, which secured the area and blocked access in and out of the hostel.

Abortion is illegal in Rwanda and, if found guilty, a woman may face imprisonment for one to three years or a fine of RWF50,000 (US$40) to RWF200,000.


Imprisoned for abortion: Many Rwandan women are now free but stigma remains

September 2, 2023
Sarah McCammon

On the day she was attacked, Akimanizanye Florentine had been trying to earn money to help get through a difficult time at home.

Akimanizanye, who goes by Florentine, was in her late teens then, living in northern Rwanda. She says her family had been struggling after her father had died


Rwanda: Evaluating Rwanda’s Progress in Addressing Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health

20 JULY 2023
By Jade Natacha Iriza

The progress Rwanda has made in promoting and implementing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) policies, programmes, and commitments has gained widespread recognition.

However, amidst the gains, there are still numerous untapped opportunities that hold the potential for further advancement. These possibilities encompass a wide range of areas, such as extending support to all adolescents (mainly in rural areas), diminishing the prevalence of unsafe abortion, and ensuring that no individual is left behind.


Rwanda’s Protestant Council Bans Abortions in its Clinics

Sughnen Yongo
March 1, 2023

Rwanda’s Protestant Council has instructed all healthcare facilities administered by members of its organization to stop performing abortions on patients who come into the facilities to get the procedure done. This latest development, which occurred earlier this month, has put a dent in the plans of women in the country who want to get access to the procedure for a variety of reasons.

Rwanda, which is a predominantly Christian society of around 13 million people, has consistently presented its conservative values in various parts of its government. In the 19th century, Christianity was introduced to Rwandan society after Catholic priests settled in the area at the height of colonialism. By the year 1920 the majority of the population was Christian. The most recent census indicated that 43.7% of Rwanda's population is Roman Catholic, 37.7% is Protestant, 11.8% is Seventh-day Adventist, 2.0% is Muslim, and 0.7% are Jehovah's Witnesses. Only 2.5% of Rwandans claim no religious affiliation.


Rwanda – ‘I Was Forced to Leave the Country for an Abortion’

July 10, 2022

I remember wanting to vomit as the plane took off. I felt anxious; this was not a situation I expected to find myself in. I closed my eyes, adding up how much the trip was costing me—the flight, the hotel and the procedure itself had set me back around $2,000. I would be burdened with more credit card debt but I was still immensely grateful to be on a plane to New York City, where I would be able to have an abortion.

I traveled over 6,000 miles to terminate my unwanted pregnancy in 2005, as I was living in Rwanda at the time, working on a national HIV treatment program. Abortion was only permitted in Rwanda when two physicians certified that it was needed to protect a woman's physical health or to save her life. Neither of these exceptions applied to me. I simply did not want to become a parent.


How will laws against abortion be enforced? Other countries offer chilling examples

In Argentina, midwives were prosecuted. In Brazil, clinics were raided. In Rwanda, hundreds of women went to jail

MAY 25, 2022

Within the next month it is very likely the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the federal constitutional right to an abortion. When that happens, dormant trigger laws in many states will immediately go into effect and abortion will become a crime. Because abortion will be regulated at the state level, enforcement and penalties will vary greatly. Kentucky, South Dakota, North Dakota, Tennessee, South Carolina and Missouri are just some of the states that would make providing an abortion a felony, with penalties including jail time up to 20 years. Other states, too impatient to wait for the court decision, have already moved to increase penalties for either having or providing an abortion. Louisiana attempted to classify abortion as a homicide, although lawmakers there have since walked back the effort. Texas is uniquely punitive, criminalizing abortion after six weeks and incentivizing enforcement through the private sector by offering bounties of $10,000 cash to deputized ordinary citizens who can sue anyone involved in providing an abortion.


Rwanda – Regional activists convene to advance sexual and reproductive health rights

By Bertrand Byishimo
January 17, 2022

Regional Civil Society Organisations have convened in Kigali for a two-day conference to discuss, share, and foster partnerships on access to safe abortion and sexual reproductive health.

The conference was organised by a coalition of Health Development Initiative (HDI), Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD), Ihorere Munyarwanda (IMRO) and Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion (RNGOF on HIV/AIDS & HP).


Backyard Abortions: Zimbabwe’s Silent Pandemic

By Lovejoy Mutongwiza
Oct 20, 2021

COVID-19 pandemic which brought about lockdown restrictions has further
restricted women and girls’ access to safe abortion services in traditionally
marginalized communities in Zimbabwe.

With COVID-19
restrictions, obtaining the necessary appointments and documents to access
health facilities has become a nightmare, especially for women in poor areas
and this has aided the need for most women and girls who fell pregnant,
unintentionally or otherwise, to Nicodemusly seek the termination of


Rwanda – Supreme Court hears case on safe abortion

By Nasra Bishumba
Published : October 19, 2021

The Supreme Court on Monday, October 18 heard a case in which a local non-governmental organisation, Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD), sought to challenge two articles within the Penal Code regarding safe abortion.

Article 72 of the law determining the jurisdiction of courts stipulates that any person, company or association with legal personality can petition the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional if they have any interest.


Rwanda – Women’s rights are human rights: the right to autonomy and self-determination

By Brenda Mutoni
September 30, 2021

Worldwide, women enjoy 25% fewer legal rights than men. Millions of women around the world are not able to make decisions about their own bodies.

According to research published in September 2021 by UNFPA titled “My body is my own. Claiming the right to autonomy and self-determination”, just over half of women and girls in middle- and low-income countries have the right to decide for themselves whether they have sex, use contraception or seek medical care. In some sub-Saharan countries, the figure is even below 10%.