People imprisoned for abortion around the world: Who, where and under what law?
Our research reports:
With few exceptions, most countries’ criminal laws contain restrictions on the grounds on which an abortion is legal, up to what stage of pregnancy, who can determine whether an abortion is legal, who is permitted to provide abortion services, and the punishments for violating these restrictions.
Even in countries where abortion is permitted on certain or full grounds, subjective interpretation of the law by conservative and religious authorities often means that women are subject to cruel, gender-based punishment and a criminalisation of their own bodies. Women are tried, convicted and imprisoned in the USA, in El Salvador, in Uganda and in Northern Ireland to name a few, all for claiming their rights to bodily freedom. The stigmatisation around abortion means that even if they are not imprisoned, they are often considered “morally corrupt” by family, neighbours and wider society.
At the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion, we are researching on the subject of trials and imprisonment of women and abortion providers. Campaign members have already done a good deal of research to uncover existing cases of women and abortion providers imprisoned. Many of these researchers are also actively involved in working for the release of women and abortion providers from prison and for abortion law reform.
Our aim is to put together accessible national reports on trials and imprisonments from about 2010 onwards. These reports will cover who is imprisoned where and under what laws, as well as the legal and advocacy approaches that lawyers and abortion rights groups are taking in order to prevent, challenge and overturn these convictions. These will function as informative tools for those campaigning on human rights violations in relation to abortion.