Morocco health minister says he favours abortion


Moroccan Health Minister El Hossein Louardi came out in support of lifting Morocco's ban on abortion in an interview published last week. His comments came amid a debate sparked by the fact that hundreds of illegal abortions take place in the kingdom every day.

"I am a doctor and citizen first. I believe a woman should have control over her own body," Louardi told "Tel Quel". "I think it is absolutely necessary to legalise abortion, because it is not only a medical problem but also a social problem."

The minister cited the example of a "helpless woman" becoming "pregnant with a child she can't afford to look after". "How will she cope? She should have the right to decide," he said.

King Mohamed VI will soon examine proposals on abortion he asked the departments of Justice and Islamic Affairs and the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) to prepare.

In March, Louardi said he favoured "an urgent revision of the law" on abortion in cases involving rape, incest or foetal deformity.

In a country of 34 million people where extramarital relations are illegal, abortion is currently punishable by between one and five years in prison. Although there are no official figures, it is estimated that between 600 and 800 abortions are carried out every day, sometimes in appalling conditions.   (AFP)

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