Senegal’s complete ban on abortion has drawn criticism from an international community of human rights activists.
An outspoken voice against the government’s abortion ban has also come from an unlikely internal source: a 10-year-old girl who was denied a pregnancy termination despite being raped and impregnated by her neighbor. The girl, who is now 11, gave birth to two twins recently, and she has been unable to attend school while she struggles to take care of her children.
According to The Guardian, the girl was initially unaware that she had been impregnated as a result of the attack.
“I did not realize I was pregnant. My mother saw my body changing and because I was vomiting she took me to the hospital. In the last few months my head ached and I could hardly stand up,” the girl said.
Although the girl was denied the opportunity to terminate her unwanted pregnancy, her rapist has since been taken into police custody, where he awaits trial.
Senegal’s abortion ban dates back to article 317 of the French Penal Code of 1810, an extremely outdated, centuries-old law.
According to a report by the International Consortium for Medical Abortion, abortions are an available option to women in 2/3s of the world. Also, the rate of abortions — both legal and illegal — has declined as the availability of contraceptives has improved.