Facing Uganda's Law on Abortion

Publication Document Type


Primary Content

Maternal mortality continues to be a formidable factor in the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Uganda. Indeed 343 women out of every 100,000 women die from preventable pregnancy-related complications each year and many more suffer serious and often permanent disabilities. Unsafe abortions contribute to 26% of maternal deaths, as a result of the legislation that criminalizes abortion. This 1950 law (the Penal Code Act) has had harmful effects on a diverse range of stakeholders particularly women and girls as well as health care providers who have been often threatened with arrests or have actually been arrested. Some have been tried and sentenced to prison, some have served their sentences to the end, while others have spent days in detention and, in some instances, been released with no charge filed against them.

Given that background, the Center for Health, Human Rights & Development (CEHURD), in collaboration with the Center for Reproductive Rights, has collected a number of these stakeholders’ voices and perspectives into a photo voice booklet. The purpose of this booklet is to evoke for the reader the reality of the situation in Uganda. It specifically speaks about the impact of the criminalization of abortion in Uganda. It offers an array of voices: a girl who was defiled and denied access to abortion services, a woman imprisoned for procuring an abortion, a health service provider detained for providing post-abortion care, a law enforcement officer, a gynaecology/obstetrician/midwife involved in providing abortion and postabortion care, a legal practitioner who specializes in abortion law, and the voices of girls that have procured unsafe abortions—among others.