Calls for end to abortion ban in Morocco

2012-06-04 14:13

kalahari.com

  • Morocco
    From the strait of Gibraltar to the snowy peaks of the Atlas Mountains and the windswept Sahara,... Now R300.00
    buy now
Rabat - Hundreds of Moroccan women a day are resorting to backstreet abortions, a leading doctor has estimated, prompting calls for reform in a country where the termination of pregnancies remains illegal.

Campaigners say some of those resorting to illegal abortion are the victims of rape, driven at least in part by the social stigma attached not just to having a child out of wedlock but even having suffered rape.

The victims include girls forced to work as maids and women trapped in forced marriages, they say.

And the voices calling for a repeal of the ban on abortion are growing louder.

A national congress will be held on 12 June in Rabat, under the auspices of the Moroccan Association for the Fight against Clandestine Abortion, headed by Professor Chafik Chraibi.

Deputies and Health Minister El Hossein el Ouardi are expected to attend.

"What is happening in Morocco is dramatic," said Chraibi, a renowned gynaecologist.

Backstreet abortions, mainly among young people, led to the women concerned being rejected by their families, he said. Women could end up being marginalised, forced into prostitution and sometimes committing suicide.

While it is impossible to get accurate figures for what is still an illegal activity, Chraibi told AFP: "We believe that 600 abortions are carried out daily by doctors and another 200 non-medical abortions.

"In Tunisia, where it is legal to have abortions, it's 20 times less," he added.

Maternal mortality

"A dozen doctors are now in prison for having carried out illegal abortion. A gynaecologist from the Al Jadida region was sentenced to a year in prison, after carrying out an abortion for a young woman," said the doctor.

And another result of the lack of access to legal abortions was the high number of abandoned children, he added: around 17 000 a year.

The association he runs has been championing a reform of the law. And he argues that legalising abortion could only have a positive effect.

"Our message is that we must work on prevention, as according to the World Health Organisation, 13% of maternal mortality is due to abortion."

The debate over abortion is just the latest front of an ongoing conflict between conservative supporters of traditional values and more liberal, reform-minded campaigners.

A recent case of a 16-year-old girl who committed suicide after being forced to wed her rapist - a provision of Moroccan law allowed him to thus escape prosecution - provoked outrage in Morocco.

Chraibi however said he was more optimistic than ever that there would be change on the abortion issue.

In the past, he said, the political parties were afraid to get involved. But now, the "issue has become a common problem, and the health minister backs us".

The minister is not a member of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), the Islamist party that is the senior partner in the ruling coalition. He is with the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS).

Storm of criticism

But Bassima Hakkaoui, the minister for women and the family, is a PJD member.

She accused the pro-reform advocates of "using the issue of child rape for political means and in a negative manner, which has deeply hurt the image of Morocco overseas".

Her remarks provoked a storm of criticism from feminist activists.

Fauzia Assouli, president of the Federation of the Democratic League of Women's Rights, accused the minister of trying to divert attention from the central issue.

"This type of discourse comes from a fixed mindset," she said.

"Questions such as rape, abortion and child labour are the responsibility of the state," she added.

"We are going in all directions. It is difficult to move forward with a conservative government," she told AFP.

But at the same time, she said, there was a growing sense of awareness, a sense of momentum among activists.

Read more on:    morocco  |  north africa  |  abortion
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is one of those days where the more positive and optimistic you are the more opportunities you seem to attract....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.