By Chioma Iruke
The Parliament of the Republic of Benin has voted to legalise abortion in most circumstances, the country’s Health Ministry said on Thursday.
Abortion was previously legal only in cases of rape or incest, if the mother’s life was at risk, or if the unborn child had a particularly serious medical condition.
The new law says abortion may be permitted if the pregnancy is “likely to aggravate or cause a situation of material, educational, professional or moral distress incompatible with the interests of the woman and/or the unborn child.”
The law was passed on Wednesday night, following a debate in Parliament. It still needs to be ratified by the constitutional court before it takes effect.
With this law, Benin joins Zambia, Cape Verde, Mozambique, South Africa and Tunisia who have relatively liberal abortion laws.