Is abortion legal in Senegal?
The abortion law in Senegal is one of the most restrictive in Africa and prohibits abortion in almost all circumstances. Abortions are also highly criminalized with many women finding themselves persecuted and incarcerated for inducing abortions, for suspicious miscarriages and for infanticide.
However, Article 35 of the Code of Medical Ethics of Senegal provides a single exception: “Therapeutic abortions can only be carried out if this intervention is the only way to save the life of the mother.” Furthermore, this very limited exception is accompanied by extremely onerous procedural conditions: three different doctors (a prescribing doctor and two supervisory doctors) must certify that the life of the mother can be saved only through such intervention.
One of the consultant physicians must be named on the court´s list of experts. A protocol of the decision must then be sent by registered mail to the President of the Medical Association. Finally, “if the doctor, according to his convictions, believes that he should not recommend an abortion, he may withdraw, ensuring continuity of care by a qualified colleague.”
It is almost impossible to obtain such certifications within a timely manner and thus legal abortions are almost non-existent.
Therefore, there is an almost total ban on abortions with only post-abortion care (PAC) services being legal.