Benin’s parliament votes to legalise abortion

Under the brand new legislation, girls can terminate a being pregnant inside the first three months underneath sure circumstances.

Parliamentarians in Benin have voted to legalise abortion within the West African nation, the place it was already authorised underneath very restricted circumstances.

Under the brand new legislation, handed late on Wednesday, girls can terminate a being pregnant inside the first three months whether it is prone to “aggravate or cause material, educational, professional or moral distress, incompatible with the woman or the unborn child’s interest”.

Previously, abortion was authorised if pursing the being pregnant “threatened the life of the mother”, was “the result of a rape or incest” or when “the unborn child has a particularly severe affection”.

After a heated debate within the parliament, with some legislators strongly against legalising abortion additional, the modification lastly handed.

Several nations in Africa have complete bans on abortion, together with Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

“In Benin, nearly 200 women die each year as the result of abortion complications,” mentioned Minister of Health Benjamin Hounkpatin in an announcement on Thursday.

“This measure will be a relief for many women who face undesired pregnancies, and are forced to put their lives in danger with botched abortions,” he added.

The minister mentioned that problems from abortions had been the reason for 20 % of maternal deaths within the nation.

“It is because of this public health threat that the government has taken its responsibilities by submitting a text that lawmakers have passed,” mentioned Hounkpatin.

He mentioned the brand new measure’s “unique goal” was to “save human lives” and that “voluntary termination of pregnancies will remain a last resort”.

The influential Episcopal Conference of Benin mentioned it was “highly preoccupied by the proposed law to legalise abortions”.

“Abortion not only destroys the life of the foetus but also that of the mother, in many aspects,” the non secular group mentioned in an announcement.

Abortion legal guidelines differ wildly around the globe, however solely a minority of nations have outright bans.

Women from Europe, North America and Oceania profit from probably the most liberal laws, in some instances acquired solely not too long ago.

New Zealand, for instance, solely decriminalised abortion in March 2020. Up to then, it was punishable with a 14-year jail time period.