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Abortion Permitted in UAE When Pregnancy Endangers Life or Fetal Deformity Confirmed

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Shulka S. Chavan

Published on February 21, 2024, 08:50:26


UAE, women, family lawers, aortion, consent

The United Arab Emirates has recently amended its laws regarding abortion, introducing changes aimed at streamlining the consent process and prioritising the health and well-being of pregnant women.

In the UAE, medical professionals are permitted to perform abortions under two circumstances:

1.When the pregnancy jeopardises the life of the pregnant woman.

2. When fetal deformity is confirmed.

However, in both cases, specific conditions must be met, as stipulated by the law.
The amendments to the UAE's abortion law focus on two primary areas: consent requirements and maternal health protection.

Previously, obtaining consent for an abortion in the UAE often involved complex procedures, with strict requirements for medical, legal, and religious approvals.

The revised law seeks to simplify this process while ensuring that pregnant women have access to safe and medically necessary abortions when required. Under the amended law, the consent of a pregnant woman is paramount, with medical practitioners required to obtain informed consent directly from the patient before proceeding with an abortion. This shift emphasises the autonomy and agency of pregnant women in making decisions about their reproductive health.

Furthermore, the amended law introduces safeguards to protect the life and health of pregnant women. In cases where an abortion is deemed medically necessary to preserve the woman's life or prevent serious harm to her health, the procedure may be performed without the need for extensive consent requirements or legal approvals.

Commenting on the changes to the UAE's abortion law, Gayatri Jayesh, Legal Associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm, highlighted the significance of prioritising maternal health and autonomy. "The amendments represent a positive step forward in aligning UAE laws with international standards on reproductive rights. By placing greater emphasis on the consent of pregnant women and ensuring timely access to safe abortion services, the UAE is promoting the health and well-being of its female population," she said.

She further emphasised the importance of balancing the rights of pregnant women with societal and cultural considerations, stating that "while the amendments mark progress in safeguarding women's reproductive rights, it is essential to continue promoting education and awareness around reproductive health and contraception to prevent the need for abortions wherever possible. Additionally, ongoing efforts are needed to address stigma and discrimination surrounding abortion in UAE society".

The changes to the UAE's abortion law reflect a broader shift towards recognising and protecting women's reproductive rights and health. By simplifying consent procedures and prioritising maternal health considerations, the amendments aim to ensure that pregnant women have access to safe and medically necessary abortion services when needed, while also upholding cultural and societal values.

Moving forward, continued advocacy, education, and awareness efforts will be crucial in promoting reproductive rights and advancing gender equality in the UAE.


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