Moroccan Activist Push To End Abortion Ban
A national congress will be held on June 12 in Rabat, under the auspices of the Moroccan Association for the Fight against Clandestine Abortion, headed by Professor Chafik Chraibi.
Deputies and Health Minister El Hossein el Ouardi are expected to attend.
“What is happening in Morocco is dramatic,” said Chraibi, a renowned gynaecologist.
Backstreet abortions, mainly among young people, led to the women concerned being rejected by their families, he said. Women could end up being marginalised, forced into prostitution and sometimes committing suicide.
While it is impossible to get accurate figures for what is still an illegal activity, Chraibi told AFP: “We believe that 600 abortions are carried out daily by doctors and another 200 non-medical abortions.
“In Tunisia, where it is legal to have abortions, it’s 20 times less,” he added.
“A dozen doctors are now in prison for having carried out illegal abortion. A gynaecologist from the Al Jadida region was sentenced to a year in prison, after carrying out an abortion for a young woman,” said the doctor.
And another result of the lack of access to legal abortions was the high number of abandoned children, he added: around 17,000 a year.
The association he runs has been championing a reform of the law. And he argues that legalising abortion could only have a positive effect.
“Our message is that we must work on prevention, as according to the World Health Organisation, 13 percent of maternal mortality is due to abortion.”
The debate over abortion is just the latest front of an ongoing conflict between conservative supporters of traditional values and more liberal, reform-minded campaigners.
A recent case of a 16-year-old girl who committed suicide after being forced to wed her rapist — a provision of Moroccan law allowed him to thus escape prosecution — provoked outrage in Morocco.
Chraibi however said he was more optimistic than ever that there would be change on the abortion issue.