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Using Human Rights to Realize Access to Safe, Legal Abortion in Uganda

As is the case with many other countries in the Africa region, Ugandan abortion law recognizes that abortion is lawful in given circumstances. Article 22(2) of the Ugandan Constitution in particular, provides that: “No person has the right to terminate the life of an unborn child except as may be authorized by law”. On its part, section 224 of the Penal Code provides for therapeutic abortion.

However, access to safe abortion services even within the boundaries of the law, continues to be a challenge. In 2008, the Ugandan Ministry of Health estimated that unsafe abortion-related mortality constituted up to 26 percent of maternal mortality and that for every woman who died from unsafe abortion, many more women suffered severe and permanent injuries.

This paper explores a human rights framework for implementing domestic abortion law in a way that maximizes access to safe, legal abortion in Uganda. The paper analyses the explicit and implicit provisions of the main laws that regulate abortion in Uganda, including the Constitution (article 22(2)); the Penal Code (sections 141-143; 224); common law; and the country’s reservations on article 14(2)(c) of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa. Read FULL DISCUSSION PAPER 


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