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Wed 29 May 2019 09:10 AM

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Bahrain debates expanding abortion rules

Draft legislation is looking to include cases where the foetus is suffering with physical or mental disabilities

Bahrain debates expanding abortion rules
The new amendment is currently being reviewed by the Shura Council and will be debated when members return after the summer in October.

Bahrain may soon expand the legal parameters for abortion to include cases where a mother’s health is at risk or the foetus is suffering with physical or mental disabilities, according to a report by Gulf Daily News (GDN).

The kingdom already allows abortions in cases where a mother’s life is in serious danger if the pregnancy continues.

The new amendment is currently being reviewed by the Shura Council and will be debated when members return after the summer in October.

If approved by the council, it will be referred to the cabinet and the Legalisation and Legal Opinion Commission before it will be put to a vote in the parliament.

Under the new amendments, abortions can only be carried out within the first three months of a pregnancy, require the consent of both parents and must be assessed and approved by three separate consultant doctors.

“We believe the amendments are justified and would give clearer understanding in the case of abortions,” services committee chairwoman Dr Jihad Al Fadhel was quoted as saying during a committee debate on the issue on Tuesday, according to the GDN report.

“The amendments fall within the legal, ethical and acceptable limits of what constitutes a necessary abortion,” said Dr Al Fadhel.

“The additions would allow abortions for mothers facing substantial harm as a result of the pregnancy, based on an assessment by three consultants, while also allowing abortions if newborns would have deformities or mental conditions that can’t be cured.”

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