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Liv Tønnessen (2015). Women’s Right to Abortion after Rape in Sudan. Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Insight 2015:2)

In 1991, Sudan’s Islamist regime expanded the circumstances under which abortions are permitted within 90 days of conception, to include rape. This reform has received great attention, especially given the rampant rape that occurred during the violent conflict in Darfur. Rape victims have been unable to take full advantage of this law, however, since a victim must overcome serious legal and practical hurdles in order to access an abortion. This became even more difficult after the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) 2009 indictment of Sudan’s president because Sudan expelled many of the humanitarian organizations that were distributing post-rape kits. Nonetheless, although women and human rights activists in Sudan are not currently giving much attention to a woman’s right to abortion, there are on-going efforts to reform Sudan’s laws against rape. Meanwhile, medical personnel continue to risk arrest each time they perform an illegal abortion. 

Liv Tønnessen

Director of Center on Law and Social Transformation and Senior Researcher