Egypt: sign the Maputo Protocol and protect the life and health of women

Publish Date: 
Sunday, October 1, 2017

To commemorate the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, ESCR-Net member the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and the global alliance Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ) called on the Egyptian government to amend the abortion law and to ratify the protocol on the rights of women in Africa. The Maputo Protocol of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights guarantees safe medical abortions for women whose lives or health are endangered by the continuation of the pregnancy, and in situations where the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest (Article 14, Paragraph 2C).1

Egyptian law pertaining to abortion is among the most restrictive worldwide, given that it criminalizes abortion and stipulates imprisonment for women who terminate their pregnancies. In addition, the current legal framework discriminates against women in multiple ways. EIPR and RESURJ assert that amending the Egyptian Penal Code on abortion is in essence a matter of social equality.

While women who have the money — and access to information — can often access relatively safe abortion despite these restrictions, this is not true of their poorer counterparts especially girls living on the street, domestic workers, refugees and women with disabilities. These women, many of them the survivors of rape, are unable to access safe abortions in the appropriate time and often resort to desperate and life-threatening measures.

The statement publishes stories of women and their experiences undergoing unsafe abortions or facing barriers to access abortions at all. These testimonies shed light on the hardships that women face and the multiple levels of discrimination and marginalization that they face.

For more information and to read these stories, visit here.

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