Abortion Laws in Senegal
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.
What are the different (PAC) services available in Senegal?
- Medical methods: Using pills such as misoprostol (Misoclear)
- Surgical methods: Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
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.
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.
What abortion pills are available in Senegal?
- Misoprostol is available under the brand name Misoclear.
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/
Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in Senegal?
- Centre Régional de Formation, de Recherche et de Plaidoyer en Santé de la Reproduction (CEFOREP) - www.ceforep.org
Tel: +221 33 823 37 64 | 33 823 29 43
Address: Maternité Hôpital Aristide Le Dantec, Avenue Pasteur - Dakar, B.P. : 22 340 Dakar Ponty
- Association Des Juristes Sénégalaises (AJS) - http:/femmesjuristes.org/
Tel: +221 33 876 34 39 | 33 867 34 45
Numero Vert (Appel Gratuit): 800 805 805
Address: Cité Sonatel En face de SAMU Municipale de Grand-Yoff
- Marie Stopes Senegal
Tel: +221 800 00 84 84
Adama call (Free number): 800 00 84 84
- Association Sénégalaise pour le Bien Etre Familial (ASBEF) - http:/asbef.asso-web.com/
Tel: +221 33 824 25 62
Address: 5, Route du Front de Terre en face du collège Notre Dame du Liban, 6084 Dakar
- Lydia Call Center
WhatsApp Numbers: +221 78 193 93 93 / +221 78 312 26 26
Telephone Number: 800 00 96 96 (free number)
- Alliance Nationale des Jeunes pour la Sante de la Reproduction
Tel: +221 33 825 70 98
- La Parole Aux Jeunes - http://paroleauxjeunes.org/
Tel: +221 33 820 84 55
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- 1. “Prohibition of abortion in Senegal: NGOs sound the alarm.” Tv5monde.com. https://information.tv5monde.com/terriennes/interdiction-de-l-avortement-au-senegal-des-ong-tirent-la-sonnette-d-alarme-3426
- 2. “Knowledge and provision of misoprostol among pharmacy workers in Senegal: a cross sectional study.” BMC Pregnancy and Child birth. Biomed Central. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-017-1394-5