An examination of the rights of pregnant women and unborn Babies the law relating to abortion in Uganda

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Kampala international international: School Of Law
Abortion is criminalized under the laws of Uganda, with only one vague and limited exception. Uganda's abortion laws and policies are confusing and their parameters remain contested among health service providers, law enforcement officers, judges, and women and girls. Despite the fact that the uncertainty of the legal position risks misapplication of the law, abortion laws are actively enforced. Women and girls, and health workers are left vulnerable to law enforcement personnel and face arrest, prosecution and imprisonment. Women and girls are also denied legal abortions and resort to unsafe means of terminating unwanted pregnancies. As a result, unsafe abortion contributes to an already high rate of maternal mortality in Uganda. The study set out to examine the trends of enforcement of Uganda's criminal abortion laws, and the particular impact that this enforcement has on the human rights of the healthcare providers, women and girls who are harassed, intimidated, arrested, convicted or imprisoned and those who are affected by the law. The study also makes recommendations aimed at promoting a progressive change in legal and societal attitudes towards abortion in order to protect the rights of women and health providers. The study revealed that abortion laws are being implemented at the national level as well as in the two study districts, though the numbers of arrests are very low compared to the estimated number of abortions carried out in Uganda every year. Nationally, at least 182 arrests were made on abortion-related charges during the four year period (2011-2014). At least 4 persons were arrested in Kampala in each of the five study years. In Kitgum, a total of 18 abortion-related arrests took place over the whole of the study period. Data from both of these two districts suggest that there was not much difference in the number of people arrested in each of the five years. National data, on the other hand, indicates a steady increment in the number of arrests over the course of the study period. The study revealed a much higher rate of reporting and arresting in Kitgum as compared to Kampala, proportional to the populations of each of these two districts. This finding suggests that urbanisation influences the measure of secrecy with which an abortion can be carried out and that someone living in a small, close-knit community is more likely to be outed to the public.
A research report submitted to the faculty of law in partial fulfillment for the award of a bachelor’s degree in laws at Kampala international university
Human rights, Pregnant women, Unborn Babies, Uganda, Abortion