Providing Evidence to Promote Sound Policy in Senegal
In partnership with the Centre de Recherche pour le Développement Humain, Guttmacher released the first-ever study on the national incidence of abortion in Senegal. We found that despite legal restrictions, unsafe abortion is common in Senegal, and thousands of women are harmed each year as a result. The poorest women experience the worst outcomes, and many women do not have access to needed medical care. These findings have contributed to a national policy discussion on expanding legal abortion access and a call for expanded provision of family planning services and postabortion care. Citing our study, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women urged Senegal to decriminalize abortion and ensure that it is legally available in cases of threats to the life or health of the pregnant woman, rape, incest and serious impairment of the fetus.
"Clandestine abortion is taking a serious toll on Senegalese women, especially among the poorest and least advantaged. Most abortions are the result of unintended pregnancies. Meeting the need for modern contraceptives would allow Senegalese women to have greater control over when they become pregnant, and help lower the likelihood that women will resort to unsafe abortions."
Director, Centre de Recherche pour le Délveloppement Humain
"These findings make it clear that we must focus on the needs of poor women. They have the highest risk of experiencing abortion complications and are the least likely to get the medical care they will then need. Efforts to ensure access to comprehensive family planning services and postabortion care - without risk of legal consequences - must be expanded."