Abortion is an ‘obstacle course’ for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Every day, an estimated 400 women perform unsafe abortions in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. FRANCE 24 spoke with members of the NGO Afia Mama, which provides psychological, medical and legal support to women seeking abortion.

Although the DRC has signed and ratified the Maputo Protocol, which allows women to terminate a pregnancy in the event of rape or if it threatens their health, Congolese criminal law continues to prohibit abortions.

“The fact that the law is inconsistent means that the state is not investing in the necessary infrastructure. There are no trained doctors and there is no information,” said Afia Mama’s director, Anny Modi. “So it really is an obstacle course for women who want to end their pregnancy.”

To facilitate access to reproductive rights, several MEPs are now calling for a review of Congolese legislation.

“Our goal is to raise awareness because there are many people who do not understand the point of legalizing abortion,” said legislator Solange Masumbuko Nyenyezi. “If we do not change the law, we will pay the price, whether it is through additional deaths or through the cost of caring for these unwanted children.”