UAE: Abortions allowed in 5 cases; all you need to know about the new law

The new rules govern when and how abortions can be performed, while ensuring the safety and legality of the procedure

by

Waad Barakat

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File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes
File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes

Published: Tue 25 Jun 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 25 Jun 2024, 9:37 PM

New regulations have been introduced governing when and how abortions can be performed in the country. The new rules aim to expand the permissible circumstances for abortion while also establishing a regulatory framework to ensure the safety and legality of the procedure. Here is all you need to know about the new law.

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When is abortion allowed?

Abortions are permitted in five instances:

  1. If the pregnancy is the result of sexual intercourse against the woman’s will or without her consent.
  2. If the pregnancy is a result of incest, meaning, if the person responsible for the pregnancy is from the woman's lineage or her relatives.
  3. At the request of the spouses after the approval of the Committee. The nature of the requests that spouses can make has not been detailed in the resolution.
  4. If the continuity of the pregnancy endangers the pregnant woman's life.
  5. If the foetus' deformation is proved. The deformation must be severe, and could affect the newborn’s health and life.

What are the conditions for the procedure to be done?

The duration of the pregnancy at the time of the abortion must not exceed 120 days, and must not result in any medical complications that pose a risk to the life of the pregnant woman.


Who will comprise the regulatory committee?

The decision on abortion requests shall be made by a dedicated committee that will be formed by Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) or the head of an emirate's health authority.

The committee should comprise three specialists:

  • An obstetrics and gynaecology specialist
  • A psychiatry specialist
  • A representative from the Public Prosecution

What happens after putting in a request?

The committee may seek assistance from experts and request additional documents, before issuing a decision within 5 working days.

The decision shall be either to approve the request for the abortion operation or to reject it, provided that the decision is justified by the approved Fatwa authorities in the State.

The decision must be unanimous and in the case of disagreement of the committee, the matter shall be referred to the Minister or the Head of the health authority.

Can one appeal a decision?

The pregnant woman, her husband, or her guardian may appeal the committee's decision within 5 working days. The final decision issued by the Minister or Head of the health authority will be binding.

Where can abortion be done?

The procedure must be performed at a healthcare facility licensed to provide abortion services, by a specialist obstetrician-gynaecologist.

The concerned physicians in the health facility must prepare a report on the case, stating the duration of the pregnancy and explaining the reasons for the abortion, the necessary approvals, and the procedures taken, from the moment the pregnant woman entered the health facility.

The healthcare facility must also provide medical and social counselling before and after the procedure.

Does it require consent?

Written consent is required from the pregnant woman before performing the abortion operation. If her consent cannot be obtained for any reason, the consent of her husband or guardian is required. In cases of emergency, consent is not required.

Can expatriates request abortion?

If the pregnant woman is a non-citizen, she must have a valid UAE residency permit for at least 1 year before submitting the abortion request.

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