abortions in egypt

November 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

Abortion is illegal in Egypt unless the woman’s life is in imminent danger. Damage to the fetus is not accepted as a reason for abortion, a legal position emphasised by a recent fatwa that says that “it is impermissible for the mother to induce abortion [even] if it is proven that the fetus is deformed or suffers from mental retardation … It is not a justifiable excuse”. Nevertheless, women regularly find ways to end unwanted pregnancies. A 1996 study among 1,300 Egyptian women by the Cairo Demographic Centre found that one-third had attempted to terminate a pregnancy. Other studies suggest that about one-third of abortions are carried out without medical supervision, with women trying traditional remedies or overdoses of aspirin or quinine, at a risk to their own lives. Many foreign-trained Egyptian gynaecologists now offer abortions in private clinics, although these relatively safe procedures, costing as high as US$460, are not affordable for most women. Although a physician who performs an abortion could face three years in prison, the financial gains often outweigh the risks. For US$150 many doctors or midwives will perform abortions but sometimes in far less sanitary conditions or with outdated methods.

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