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Video: Abortion rights under pressure in Tunisia

FRANCE 24 screengrab | A doctor holds an appointment at a family planning clinic in Tunisia.

Although abortion has been legal in Tunisia for more than four decades it remains controversial in what is still a socially conservative country. FRANCE 24’s team on the ground takes a closer look at the issue.

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Abortion was legalised in Tunisia in 1973. Under the late President Habib Bourgiba, a family planning centre was set up in every region of the country as part of a broader policy strategy to promote women’s rights.

In 2017 alone, nearly 16,000 abortions were carried out across Tunisia.

Some women’s rights advocates have pointed to a shortage of contraception, which they say has led to more women resorting to the procedure.

Officials claim that the shortage has been caused by a recall of sub-standard stock. Meanwhile, pharmacists blame the state pharmaceutical company which is deeply in debt, making it difficult for the state to pay drug manufacturers.

Despite the rising number of procedures, abortion today remains taboo.

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