Papua New Guinea: Urgent Appeal for Support for Leoba Devana and James Channel

Urgent Appeal for Support

Leoba Devana, jailed for the unlawful killing of her unborn child. In January 2015, Leoba Davana and her husband, James Channel, made the difficult decision to terminate their pregnancy. Living in extreme poverty in a remote area of Papua New Guinea (PNG) with two young children, no access to contraception, and having previously experienced a life threatening pregnancy, they did not feel able to care for another child at this time.

After consulting a local health worker who assisted Leoba with procuring drugs to initiate a miscarriage Leoba suffered two days of bleeding and other medical complications. She therefore returned to the clinic, where the police were summoned.

In October 2015 both Leoba and James were sentenced by the National Court in Arawa to five years in jail.

The couple are the first in Papua New Guinea to be imprisoned as a result of terminating a pregnancy. They were charged not for procuring an abortion, but rather, for the “unlawful killing of an unborn child.”

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Source: Marie Stopes