Benin Republic vote to legalise abortion

Parliamentarians in Benin have voted to legalise abortion in the West African country, where it was already authorised under restricted conditions.

Under the new law passed late on Wednesday women can terminate a pregnancy within the first three months if it is likely 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 pregnancy “threatened the life of the mother”, was “the result of a rape or incest” or, when “the unborn child has a particularly severe affection”.

“In Benin, nearly 200 women die each year as the result of abortion complications,” said the health minister, Benjamin Hounkpatin, in a statement Thursday.

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