According to the constitution of of Uganda (1995), “No person has the right to terminate the life of an unborn child except as may be authorized by law.”
Section 141 which is on ‘Attempts to procure abortion’ states that “Any person who with intent to procure the miscarriage of a woman whether she is or is not with child, unlawfully administers to her or causes her to take any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind, or uses any other means, commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.”
Section 142 which is on ‘Procuring miscarriage’ states that, “Any woman who, being with child, with intent to procure her own miscarriage, unlawfully administers to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind, or uses any other means, or permits any such things or means to be administered to or used on her, commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.”
While the above and many other laws clearly indicates that abortion is illegal and punishable in Uganda, recently, I came to realize how futile this law is.
Not long ago, after realizing that I had missed my periods, I visited a city clinic to take a pregnancy test. The results came out positive. The first question the doctor asked me was whether I was married. My reply was no. Then he asked me whether I was ready for the pregnancy.
When I hesitated, he took that as a no but what I didn’t expect was his next statement, ‘I can help you get rid of the pregnancy.’ He went ahead to tell me about the tablets which costs around 50,000/= and an insertion method which can cost me (100,000/=) that could easily help me terminate the pregnancy at will.
To tell you the truth, I was stunned.
For all this time, I thought abortion was a word you couldn’t spit in the doctor’s face since its known to be criminal but here was the doctor himself telling me all about it.
And the ease with which he spoke, I was assured that I was not the first person he had approached with such a suggestion. It also gave me an insight that abortion is something you can practice at anytime of the day as long as you can afford it.
With clinics exercising abortion with free reign, can we still say it is illegal in Uganda? This really made me wonder about Uganda’s laws. Are they real?