Shedding light on Rwanda’s criminal abortion laws

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ipas in the News
A study by Ipas and the Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD) on the enforcement of criminal abortion laws in Rwanda—When Abortion Is a Crime: Rwanda—was released in Kigali on September 28, the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, and has generated significant media attention.

According to the study, almost one quarter of the women in five Rwandan prisons are incarcerated on abortion-related charges. Rwandan television and radio outlets carried reports on the Kigali event, and news articles on the report have been published by outlets including the Thomas Reuters Foundation, AllAfrica.com  and Cosmopolitan.com.

The study calls on the Rwandan government to take steps to release all women, girls, health-care professionals and others unjustly imprisoned on abortion-related charges and to take action to remove the legal barriers that make it “nearly impossible” for Rwandan women to get safe, legal abortion care.

It is the second in a series of Ipas studies looking at the legal and human rights impact of criminal abortion laws on women, their families and their communities. The first report focused on three Latin American countries—Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.