We regret that Botswana received and noted several recommendations on decriminalising abortion, on repealing Section 167 of the Penal Code, and on ensuring access to legal gender recognition. Botswana must eliminate discrimination against women and ensure their access to legal, safe, and affordable sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, which Botswana still criminalises, and gender-affirming care.
The criminalisation of abortion is taking an increasing toll in my country. Women die because of lack of access to life saving abortion care, the entire hospitals rely illegally on the consciousness clause. The recent police intervention in the case of a woman who took an abortion pill and another who miscarried show how the restrictive legal and policy environment is facilitating the abuse of powers by authorities, and legitimising the refusals of care by medical providers.