África
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Abortion Laws in Senegal

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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."

Note: 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.

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What are the different (PAC) services available in Senegal?

  • Medical Abortion (MA) – Abortion with pills ((Misoprostol, Misoclear))
  • Surgical Abortion
    • Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
    • Electronic Vacuum Aspiration (EVA)
    • Dilation & Curettage (D&C) – This method is highly outdated with a higher rate of morbidity.
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Who can provide PAC services in Senegal?

Only qualified providers such as Doctors, Nurses and Midwives are allowed to provide PAC services.

However, many women are afraid of seeking out PAC services for fear of being reported to the authorities. In addition, many health providers are unaware of the legality of PAC and often refuse services for fear of being prosecuted and also on the grounds of conscientious objection, especially when they suspect that an abortion was induced and not spontaneous.

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Where can I go for PAC services in Senegal?

  • PAC services are provided at registered public and private health facilities, though services are often limited in rural areas and challenges remain due to lack of trained providers, proper equipment and fear of persecution.
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What abortion pills are available in Senegal?

  • Misoprostol is available under the brand name Misoclear.
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Can I buy abortion pills at a pharmacy in Senegal?

Misoprostol is stocked in some pharmacies, while other pharmacists are unwilling to stock the drug knowing that it is used to induce abortions.

In addition, those pharmacists that do stock Misoprostol will only sell it with a prescription.

Note: Some pharmacists might sell the pills without a prescription, however they do not often provide proper instructions on eligibility, dosage and usage for a medical abortion. Please refer to the following page on our website for comprehensive instructions on how to use the pill: https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/howto/

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Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in Senegal?

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Contact us at: info@howtouseabortionpill.org