Benin parliament votes to legalise abortion
| October 22nd 2021
Benin's parliament has voted to legalise abortion in most circumstances, the health ministry said on Thursday, becoming one of only a handful of African countries to do so.
Abortion was previously legal only in cases of rape or incest, if the mother's life was at risk, or if the unborn child had a particularly serious medical condition.
The new law says abortion may be permitted if the pregnancy is "likely to aggravate or cause a situation of material, educational, professional or moral distress incompatible with the interests of the woman and/or the unborn child".
The law was passed on Wednesday night following a debate in parliament. It still needs to be ratified by the constitutional court before it takes effect.
The law makes Benin a rarity in Africa. As of 2016, only Zambia, Cape Verde, Mozambique, South Africa and Tunisia had relatively liberal abortion laws, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a U.S.-based research organization.
"This measure is going to ease the pain of many women who, faced with the distress of an unwanted pregnancy, find themselves obliged to risk their lives by using unsafe abortion methods," Health Minister Benjamin Hounkpatin said.
He estimated that unsafe abortions are responsible for 20% of maternal deaths nationwide.
"(This law) will be welcomed by the all the medical personnel who deal with complications from abortions on a daily basis," Hounkpatin told reporters.
Teenage pregnancy is common in Benin and only about 12% of people use modern methods of contraception, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Golf: Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Tolgos upbeat as Standard County Golf Series lands in EldoretThe second leg of the 2021/22 Standard County Golf Classic series is set to tee-off at par 71 Eldoret Club on Saturday.
Rwandan prosecutors to appeal verdict for 'Hotel Rwanda' heroA statement tweeted by the Prosecutor General's office did not say why it was making the appeal.
Unravelling Dr Mercy Mwangangi’s love metaphor
- Witnesses now decline to testify against lawyer Paul Gicheru at the ICC
- Suspected suicide bomber blows self up in Kisumu, kills elderly couple
- Raila Odinga and the Trio Mio debate: Musician’s mum speaks
- Fred Matiang’i: Kabete police officer killed 6 in love triangle rage
- Fake KDF man storms police station, harasses officer on duty
By Erick Abuga