Rwanda’s president pardons 52 women jailed for abortions

Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, has pardoned and ordered the release of 52 young women who were jailed for having or assisting with abortions.

Thursday’s decision follows Rwanda’s revision of its penal code, which previously imposed prison sentences for anyone who had an abortion or helped in terminating a pregnancy.

The revised law says abortion is allowed in cases such as rape, forced marriage, incest or instances where the pregnancy poses a health risk.

The law requires that abortions be carried out only after consultation with a doctor. Previously, the decision was made only by a court.

Rwanda’s justice minister said the women will be freed Saturday.

Some activists have criticized the penal code for prohibiting health professionals, such as midwives, from providing abortions since not everyone can afford to see doctors.

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