Saturday, 15 October 2011

Morocco’s government wants to change the law to allow abortion in cases of rape and incest, a minister said Friday, in a country where up to 1,000 illegal terminations are said to take place daily.

Abortion is illegal in the north African kingdom, except in cases where the mother’s health is in jeopardy. The comments from social and family development minister Nouzha Skalli are the first official indications of a potential legal change.

“Recourse to legal abortion in extreme cases, like rape, incest, or a seriously malformed foetus, is no longer taboo. It is part of a government agenda,” Skalli told AFP.

Experts say that despite abortion being illegal in the country of 32 million inhabitants, the procedure is tolerated and performed by most gynecologists.

“Extreme cases must be provided for in law, taking into account ethical and religious considerations. This will change the legislation because we cannot continue like this,” Skalli said.

Between 600 and 800 abortions are performed each day in Morocco by medical professionals, while an additional 200 are carried out without proper medical precautions taken, according to rights groups.

“There are several hundred illegal abortions every day in Morocco. We must understand that a woman does not seek an abortion just because of a sudden change of mind (about her pregnancy),” the minister added.