Mozambique legalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

2014-12-19 15:03

Maputo – Mozambique has legalised abortion, making it one of the few countries in Africa to allow women to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

President Armando Guebuza yesterday quietly signed into law a revised penal code bill that eases prohibitions in abortion regulations, a move hailed by health groups.

The new law specifies that abortions will have to be carried out in recognised and designated health centres by qualified practitioners.

Termination must be carried out within the first 12 weeks but in case of rape, the period is extended to 16 weeks.

It will also be allowed when the pregnancy poses a serious risk to the health or life of the mother or in case of foetal abnormality.

In Mozambique, the earlier law outlawing abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life or health is endangered, dates to the late 19th century, when the mainly Catholic Portuguese controlled the country.

The other major creed in Mozambique is Islam, a faith which also does not support abortion.

The reform came after a decade of spirited lobbying by reproductive health advocates in Mozambique, where clandestine abortions are one of the leading causes of deaths among pregnant women and girls.

Abortion accounts for 11% of maternal deaths in Mozambique, according to health watchdogs.

The move is a victory for women, because it’s not so “restrictive” anymore, said Ivone Zilhão a Maputo-based sexual and reproductive health doctor with Pathfinder, an international NGO that promotes safe and legal abortion services.

Many African countries have strict laws that prohibit abortion, leaving many women to resort to secret and unsafe methods of termination.

Cape Verde, South Africa and Tunisia are the few countries that allow for therapeutic abortion

.

The World Health Organization estimates that one in every five pregnancies worldwide ends in induced abortion and that around 47 000 women die due to complications linked to unsafe abortion.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

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
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.