Urgent Alert: Please take action to ensure access to safe legal abortions in Rwanda

UPDATE 11 July 2012: Equality Now welcomes the new Rwandan Penal Code legalizing abortion under certain circumstances, mentioned below in our Urgent Alert, which was signed by the President and came into effect on 14 June 2012. Unfortunately, none of the pre-conditions to obtaining an abortion were removed. The Penal Code was also not amended to allow trained mid-level healthcare providers to conduct safe abortions, so denying women greater access to reproductive health and rights.

Equality Now has just issued an urgent alert on a bill approved recently by the Rwanda legislature allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy in cases of incest, rape, forced marriage, or if the pregnancy threatens her health. However, burdensome  pre-conditions l – in particular requiring a woman to obtain a court order and approval by two doctors before she can procure an abortion and only allowing doctors to perform abortions – threaten to make safe abortions almost impossible for many women to obtain. Most women do not have access to courts or doctors. Medical care is provided by trained health care providers. Studies have shown that trained nurses and midwives are as capable as doctors in providing safe abortion care.  With the pre-conditions, many women would therefore not be able to benefit from this law. The bill is currently pending before Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Equality Now supports the efforts of human rights groups across Africa calling on President Kagame to remove the pre-conditions and allow for mid-level trained health care providers (given the shortage of doctors in Rwanda) to perform safe abortions before signing the bill into law.

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To learn more about the campaign & for a list of full contact information for the government officials above, see: