There are more than 1.8 million unsafe abortions in West Africa each year. A situational assessment of comprehensive abortion care needs and opportunities in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa conducted in 2015 concluded there is “a vast unmet need” for comprehensive abortion care services in the region.
To date, abortion-related efforts in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa have mostly focused on postabortion care; few have concentrated on the provision of safe, induced abortion. Even though most countries have legal provisions for abortion—such as to protect the life and health of the woman and in cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormalities—in many countries these laws have not been translated into actual services for women. There also are strong cultural, religious and political opponents to comprehensive abortion care—in addition to other barriers, such as stigma and lack of awareness of the legality of abortion.
In collaboration with national, international and community-based partners, Ipas’s Francophone Africa regional program is working with six Francophone nations—the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger—to significantly expand programs providing safe, induced abortion.