UAE Introduces New Law Permitting Abortion in Cases of Rape and Incest

In a significant move to protect women’s health and rights, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has updated its laws on abortion. A new government resolution has added three more situations where abortions are now allowed, according to a recent report.

Prior to this modification, a woman could only get an abortion in the United Arab Emirates if the pregnancy posed a risk to her life or if the fetus had serious abnormalities. However, the new resolution has expanded these conditions.

Now, abortions are also allowed in the following cases –

  1. Rape – If a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape, she can now legally have an abortion.
  2. Incest – If a pregnancy results from incest, an abortion is permitted.
  3. Spousal Request – An abortion can be requested by a couple, but it must be approved by a committee.

This reform aims to provide more comprehensive protection for women facing difficult circumstances, ensuring their health and rights are prioritized.

The UAE has made a significant change to its laws by allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest. This new decision is a big shift from the country’s previous strict regulations on abortion. The main goal of this change is to reduce illegal and unsafe abortions.

Dr. Habib Al Mulla, the founder of Habib Al Mulla and Partners, explained that for an abortion to be approved in these cases, there must be official reports from the public prosecution to support the claims of rape or incest. This requirement ensures that the process is legal and verified.

Key Conditions for Legal Abortion in the UAE

The UAE has introduced new regulations allowing abortions in specific cases such as rape and incest. Here are the key conditions under which abortions can be legally performed –

Authorized Medical Professionals

Only licensed specialist obstetrician-gynecologists in the UAE are allowed to perform abortions. Only accredited medical facilities may perform the operation.

Mandatory Counseling

Medical and social counselling is required for women seeking abortions, both prior to and following the procedure. This counselling is required by the resolution to ensure the well-being of the woman.

Health and Safety Conditions

Abortions are only permitted if they do not endanger the life of the pregnant woman due to medical complications. This confirms that the technique is safe for the woman undergoing it.

Time Limit for Procedure

The abortion has to be done within 120 days after the beginning of the pregnancy. This time limit is strictly enforced to comply with the law.

Eligibility for Emiratis and Expatriates

Both foreigners and Emiratis are subject to the legislation. Before requesting an abortion, non-Emirati citizens must have been lawfully living in the United Arab Emirates for at least a year.

These conditions are set to ensure that abortions are conducted safely, legally, and with the necessary support for the women involved.

UAE’s New Abortion Law Aligns with International Standards

Samara Iqbal, the founding partner of Aramas International Lawyers, praised the UAE’s new law on abortion as a significant change in the country’s approach to reproductive rights. She noted that this reform brings the UAE in line with international standards by taking into account the physical and mental health of women, as well as specific cases of rape and incest.

“This law shows that the UAE is making a progressive move towards giving women more control over their health and well-being,” Iqbal said.

She added that this new law is part of the UAE’s broader efforts to update its legal system. Among these initiatives are those that advance gender equality and strengthen safeguards against racism and domestic abuse.

The new law applies equally to both Emirati citizens and expatriates who have lived in the UAE legally for at least one year. Legal experts think this change will improve women’s rights and create a more inclusive legal system in the UAE.

There will be a committee in place at each health authority to ensure that the law is effectively implemented. This committee will consist of experts in psychiatry, obstetrics, and gynecology, and a public prosecutor. This demonstrates the government’s dedication to ensuring the process is carried out lawfully and ethically.

As the UAE continues to update its laws, including making changes in family courts and improving women’s social and economic rights, experts expect more progress in gender equality and access to healthcare.

In the UAE, the new law represents a significant advancement for the rights and health of women. It also serves as a model for other nations in the area to think about implementing such changes in the future. 

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