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[Sexual violence in Congo-Kinshasa: necessity of decriminalizing abortion]

The sexual violence's committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are from their scales and consequences on women, real public health, politico-legal, and socio-economical challenges. More than a million of women have been victims of sexual violence on a period of less than fifteen years. Systematic rapes of women were used as war weapon by different groups involved  in the Congolese war. Sexual violence against women has impacted public health by spreading sexually transmissible diseases including HIV/AIDS, causing unwanted pregnancies, leading to the gynaecological complications of rape-related injuries, and inflicting psychological trauma on the victims. Despite high level of unwanted pregnancies observed, the Congolese law is very restrictive and interdict induced abortion. This paper presents three arguments which plead in favour of legalizing abortion in DRC: 1) a restrictive law on abortion forces women to use unsafe abortion and increase incidence of injuries and maternal mortality ; 2) DRC has ratified the universal Declaration of human rights, the African union charter, and has than to promote equality between sexes, in this is included women reproductive rights; 3) an unwanted birth is an additional financial charge for a woman, a factor increasing poverty and psychologically unacceptable in case of rape. From the politico-legal point of view, ending rape impunity and decriminalizing abortion are recommended. Decriminalizing abortion give women choice and save victims and pregnant women from risks related to the pregnancy, a childbirth, or an eventual unsafe abortion. These risks increase the maternal mortality already high in DRC (between 950 and 3000 for 100000 live births).

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  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Country/Region: Congo
  • Accessible: No
  • Source: Revue medicale de Bruxelles. Sep-Oct, 2012, Volume 33 Issue 5: Pages 482-6; PMID:23167138
  • Link: http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/23167138
  • Language: French
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2012 Author(s)   Kalonda JC In Article Key words