WOMEN LEFT BEHIND - EGYPT

In Egypt, under the country’s Penal Code, abortion is illegal in all circumstances, unless the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life, however, the religious fatwas permit to perform the procedure in certain cases. This grey-zone situation creates a fruitful business for multiple medical practitioners who abuse their patients, going as far as asking for sexual favours and rape women in return for their assistance.

Sexual violence and harassment are not strange to most Egyptian women, as more than 95% report having experienced some kind of gender-based violence in their lifetime. As women are often being blamed even for rape, honour crimes are still common in Egypt. After bringing disgrace to her family, a woman is under the threat of being rejected or even killed by those close to her. The situation drives thousands to clandestine abortion in order to hide their sexuality and preserve their lives. Therefore, single mothers or those who become pregnant as a result of rape have no choice but to seek solutions such as self-induced or clandestine abortions or abandoning their previous life, becoming cast away from their communities and remaining in the margins of the society.

Since the beginning of Abdel Attah El-Sisi presidency in 2014, several women rights organizations were forced to dissolve, placed under observation or threatened in various ways.

Some names and locations in the report have been changed.