Sierra Leone: Abortion

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 18th July 2022.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that women in Sierra Leone have safe access to abortion.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK remains the largest bilateral donor to Sierra Leone's health sector through our nation-wide Saving Lives in Sierra Leone programme (£68.6 million, 2016-2022), which is focused on reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health. Between 2013 and 2019, the programme increased demand for family planning services, contributing to a reduction in teenage pregnancy rates from 30 per cent to 21 per cent. It also helped drive a 30 per cent reduction in pregnancy-related deaths.

The Government of Sierra Leone has announced it intends to introduce a Safe Motherhood Bill. If passed, this would expand access to contraceptives and other reproductive health services, as well as decriminalise abortion. The UK will continue to encourage action by both Government and civil society in Sierra Leone to help make abortion safe and legal.

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