Abortion in Mauritania

Mauritania country flag

Mauritania, the Islamic Republic, has one of the strictest abortion systems.

Is abortion legal in Mauritania?

The 2017 law on reproductive health recognizes reproductive health, including family planning, as a universal human right, yet Mauritania continues to criminalize abortion in Article 21 of this law and Article 293 of the penal code. It is authorized only in cases of proven medical necessity when the continuation of the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother [1].

What types of abortion are available in Mauritania?

Surgical and medical abortion are authorized by the health authorities.

What is the abortion rate in Mauritania? How many women have abortions?

Statistics from the Ministry of Health in 2021 showed that 651 women received abortions in health facilities [2].

Abortion with pills (Medical Abortion)

Are the abortion pills (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) available in Mauritania?

Abortion pills are part of the list of pharmaceutical products authorized for import into the national territory [3].

How late into a pregnancy can the abortion pills be used?

The pills can be used up to 13 weeks of pregnancy.

Do I need a prescription for Mifepristone or Misoprostol?

A doctor’s prescription is required to access abortion pills.

What brands of abortion pills are popular in Mauritania?

Misoprostol, which is available under the brands Misodia and Cytotec; and Misoprostol in combination with Mifepristone, under the brand name Mifedia [3].

Mifedia abortion pills in Mauritania
Misodia abortion pills in Mauritania

How much do the abortion pills cost in Mauritania?

Cytotec has a variable price depending on the pharmacies and costs between 3,200 and 11,000 MRO.

In-clinic abortion

What are the different types of in-clinic abortion procedures available in Mauritania?

The authorized surgical methods are manual intrauterine aspiration and curettage; as well as medical abortion with pills.

Is Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) safe?

Observational studies indicate that vacuum aspiration is associated with fewer complications than dilation and curettage [4].

Where can I get a Manual Vacum Aspiration (MVA) abortion in Mauritania?

In public health centers for abortion and post-abortion care, and in private clinics for post-abortion care only.

How much does Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) cost in Mauritania?

The taboos surrounding the issue of abortion makes it difficult to access this information. When having an abortion, you will need to be prepared to pay for blood tests, ultrasounds, consultations, and hospitalisation, which vary from clinic to clinic.

Are there any side effects of Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)?

The most common side effects associated with vacuum aspiration abortion include severe cramping during the procedure and often doe a few days afterwards [5].

Who can I contact for more information in Mauritania?

Women on Web https://www.womenonweb.org/en/

Authors:

By the safe2choose team and supporting experts at carafem, based on the 2019 recommendations by Ipas, and the 2012 recommendations by the WHO.