Abortion Laws by Country
Abortion Laws in Uganda
“Abortion is legal in Uganda in limited circumstances, yet approximately 85,000 women each year receive treatment for complications from unsafe abortion and an additional 65,000 women experience complications but do not seek medical treatment.”i Abortion pills can be purchased from pharmacies with a prescription and surgical abortions are also available in Uganda. Legal abortion with pills in Uganda will generally costs between 20,000 and 80,000 Ugandan shillings.
Is abortion legal in Uganda?
Abortion is legal in Uganda if it is done to save a woman’s. Article 22 (2) of the Ugandan Constitution prohibits the deprivation of the life of any person including an unborn child but also states that in some instances a pregnancy can be lawfully terminated. In addition, the 2006 National Policy Guidelines and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights extends legal rights to abortion under additional circumstances; including in cases of fetal anomaly, rape and incest, or if the woman is HIV-positive.ii
However, Uganda law on abortion has some ambiguities. Despite the above mentioned provisions, the Penal Code Act of 1950 defines the punishments for the various abortion related crimes. These include attempts to procure abortion, women with intent to procure a miscarriage, and supply of drugs that procure abortion. These are punishable according to law with various sentences. The law however protects individuals who perform a surgical operation in good faith and reasonable care for the preservation of a mother’s life (Section 224). Therefore, Article 22 (2) of the Ugandan constitution not only anticipated but also placed an obligation on the Ugandan Parliament to make a law which would clearly stipulate the circumstances under which the termination of a pregnancy would be permitted.iii
Unfortunately the Parliament has not yet fulfilled this obligation and as such, the Penal Code Act of Uganda, which provides for criminal sanctions to several aspects of abortion, remains the only authority on instances in which abortion can or cannot be permitted.
What are the different abortion services available in Uganda?
Uganda provides both medical and surgical abortion services. For medical abortion (MA), a combination of two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol is used. Surgical procedures that are available are Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) and Dilation and Evacuation (D&E).
- Medical Abortion (MA) by pill for pregnancies up to 12 weeks
- Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) for pregnancies up to 14 weeks
- Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) for up to 24weeks (NB: Usually performed 15- 24 weeks)
Post abortion care is legal and available in public and private health facilities across Uganda.iv
Who can perform abortion services in Uganda?
In Uganda, a legal abortion can be performed by:
- Medical doctors(General Practitioners)
- Trained clinical officers
- General nursesv
Where can i go for legal abortion services in Uganda?
Safe and legal abortions can be performed in Uganda at registered public and private health facilities and at certain NGO supported clinics.
Most general hospitals and health facilities provide post abortion services for induced and spontaneous abortions in order to treat the complications of unsafe abortions.
What is the cost of a safe abortion in Uganda?
The price of an abortion in Uganda depends on the type of abortion as well as the provider. Abortion with pills can cost anywhere between 20,000 and 40,000 Ugandan shillings (Misoprostol only) and 50,000 to 80,000(Mifepristone and Misoprostol) Ugandan shillings. Surgical abortion procedures can cost between 80,000 and 300, 000 Ugandan shillings.
Which abortion pills are available in Uganda?
There are two types of abortion pills available in Uganda
- A combination of Misoprostol and Mifepristone is available under the brand names: MA Kare, Divabo and Mariprist.
- Misoprostol alone under brand names like Miso Kare ,Cytotec, Misoclear and Kontrac, and misoprost
Mifepristone is a drug that blocks a hormone called progesterone that is needed for a pregnancy to continue. MA Kare is an example of a brand name for a drug that combines both misoprostol and mifepristone. Misoprostol can be used after mifepristone to encourage a complete medical abortion. Miso Kare brand is an example of a type of pill that contains only Misoprostol. We have more information on misoprostol and mifepristone usage here.
Where can I buy abortion pills in Uganda?
Misoprostol and/or the combination of Misoprostol and Mifepristone can be bought from pharmacies in Uganda; however, an accompanying prescription is required. Prices will vary between pharmacies.
Note: Many pharmacists do sell the pills without a prescription; however they do not often provide proper instructions on eligibility, dosage and usage for a medical abortion. Please refer to the following page on our website for comprehensive instructions on how to use the abortion pill: https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/howto/
What do the abortion pills look like in Uganda?
Below are the most common brand names for abortion pills in Uganda.
This is how Ma Kare abortion pills look like
This is what Mariprist abortion pills looks like
This is what Divabo abortion pills looks like
This is what the Miso-kare abortion pills look like
This is what Cytotec abortion pills look like
This is what the Misoclear abortion pills look like
This is what the misoprost abortion pills look like
This is what the Kontrac abortion pills look like
Who can I contact for additional safe abortion and post abortion care information and support in Uganda?
- Marie Stopes Uganda Contraception, post abortion care and pain management, affordable at all Health facilities under Marie stopes
- Reproductive Health Uganda Contraception, post abortion care and pain management, affordable at all Health facilities under Reproductive Health Uganda}
- Uganda Reproductive Health Bureu Contraception, post abortion care and pain management, affordable at all Health facilities under URHB. URHB was registered with the mandate to improve the sexual and reproductive health status of young people and children.}
- Naguru Teenage Centre The care provides all elements of comprehensive abortion care, as well as other medical services. This comprises of sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis and treatment, pregnancy testing, antenatal services, menstrual complications, post abortion care, infertility, nutrition and hygiene.}
- St. Augustine Community Health Centre (SACH) Contraception, post abortion care and pain management, sexually transmitted infections (STI) management, antenatal services, infertility, menstrual complications and cervical cancer screening all affordable at health facilities under SACH.
- Community Health Rights Network (Coherinet) Aunt KAKI Sexual Reproductive Health Services and Rights Information Toll Free Help line provides non-judgmental and clear information about the choices available to women of reproductive age from the Priority and Key Affected Populations groups from the community grass root levels.
Toll Free line: 0800 24 72 47(MTN) / 0800 34 73 47(Airtel)
- The Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Uganda (AOGU) Advance Reproductive Health services through excellent practice, education, research, collaborations and advocacy.
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- i “New Report Exposes Impact of Uganda’s Abortion Law through Personal Stories” Centre for Reproductive Health Rights https://www.reproductiverights.org/press-room/new-report-exposes-impact-of-ugandas-abortion-law-through-personal-stories
- ii “Abortion and Post-abortion Care in Uganda” Guttmacher Institute. https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/abortion-and-postabortion-care-uganda
- iii “Penal Code’ Act 1950”. Uganda legal information Institute. https://ulii.org/ug/legislation/consolidated-act/120
- iv “Incidence of Induced Abortion in Uganda 2013: New Estimates Since 2003”
Elena Prada, Lynn M. Atuyambe, Nakeisha M. Blades, Justine N. Bukenya, Christopher Garimoi Orach, Akinrinola Bankole
PLoS One. 2016; 11(11): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5089684/
- v “Ugandan opinion-leaders’ knowledge and perceptions of unsafe abortion”. Ann M Moore, Richard Kibombo, Deva Cats-Baril, Health Policy and Planning, Volume 29, Issue 7, October 2014, Pages 893–901 https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czt070