Boundaries at Work: Practicing Abortion Care at the Intersection of Medicine and Law in Senegal


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Sociomedical Sciences


In the early 1990s, the global health community introduced post-abortion care (PAC), an intervention that trained medical providers to treat complications of spontaneous and induced abortion even in settings where induced abortion was prohibited. This project explores how providers navigate professional boundaries between medicine and law when practicing PAC in Senegal. In this setting, providers must decide between limiting their intervention to treatment and treating patients while violating confidentiality by notifying the police of suspected cases of illegal abortion. Using ethnography, this project investigates the daily discursive, clinical, and written practices deployed by providers to circumvent police involvement in abortion and maintain professional jurisdiction over a forbidden practice.