The Limits of the Law: Abortion in the Middle East and North Africa

Addressing vulnerability and promoting security
Posted Feb 10, 2020 | Health and Human Rights Journal, Harvard University, Irene Maffi, Liv T√łnnessen

The legalisation of abortion is widely seen as essential to reduce maternal mortality. However, only the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa from 2003 (Maputo Protocol) recognises abortion as a human right in specific circumstances. Irene Maffi and Liv Tønnessen suggest in this report for the Health and Human Rights Journal, Harvard University, that when governments restrict access to abortion, these interventions still take place at roughly the same rate. They look at the political dynamics and the role of religion in the (de) criminalization of abortion; the effect of neoliberal reforms on sexual and reproductive health, and the impact of international policies concerning sexual and reproductive rights on political and legal debates on abortion in MENA countries.


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