Benin's Groundbreaking New Abortion Law Will Save the Lives of Many Women

analysis

Benin's parliament has voted to legalise abortion in most circumstances. This is a groundbreaking move by the west African country given that 92% of women of reproductive age on the continent live in countries which have restrictions - some moderate, some severe - on abortions. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked reproductive health expert, Ramatou Ouedraogo, to unpack the significance of this ruling.

What does Benin's new abortion law say?

Benin's new abortion law, which amends a previous one, now states that:

"Upon the request of the pregnant woman, voluntary termination of pregnancy can be allowed when the pregnancy is likely to aggravate or cause a situation of material, educational, professional or moral distress incompatible with the interest of the woman and/or the unborn child... "

The voluntary termination of the pregnancy is not to happen after 12 weeks of amenorrhea, the absence of a period.

Before this amendment, a woman could get her pregnancy terminated if the pregnancy would threaten her health or life, in case of foetal malformation, or when the pregnancy was a result of incest or rape. The new law expands this to protect a woman's education or career.

In 2017, only six out of...

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