West Africa’s Benin Government Legalises Abortion

West Africa’s Benin government on Wednesday voted to legalize abortion through through her parliament under the new law.

In Benin, women can now 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.”

After a heated debate in parliament, with some lawmakers strongly opposed to legalizing abortion further, the amendment finally passed.

Several countries in Africa have total bans on abortion, including Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

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

“This measure will be a relief for many women who face undesired pregnancies, and are forced to put their lives in danger with botched abortions,” he added.

Previously, abortion in Benin was only authorized 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.

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