UAE Abortion Law: All You Need to Know About the Five Permitted Cases

Omar Abbas - | Mix

The UAE has introduced new regulations governing the circumstances under which abortions can be performed, aiming to ensure both the safety and legality of the procedure.

New UAE Abortion Regulations

These rules represent a significant step towards expanding the permissible reasons for abortion while establishing a robust framework to oversee its execution.

Under the updated guidelines, abortions are allowed in five specific situations. Firstly, if the pregnancy results from sexual intercourse against the woman’s will or without her consent, Secondly, in cases of incest, where the pregnancy arises from relations within the woman's lineage or relatives, Thirdly, abortions can be sought at the joint request of spouses, pending approval by a designated committee, although specific conditions for such requests are not explicitly detailed. Additionally, abortion is permitted if continuing the pregnancy poses a significant risk to the life of the pregnant woman. Lastly, abortions may be performed if severe fetal deformities are detected that could severely impact the health and viability of the newborn.

Conditions and Committee Oversight

The abortion procedure must be carried out within 120 days of pregnancy and should not pose additional medical risks that endanger the life of the pregnant woman. A dedicated committee, comprising specialists in obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and a representative from the Public Prosecution, will oversee decisions regarding abortion requests. This committee is tasked with reviewing each case thoroughly, seeking expert opinions as needed, and providing a decision within a stipulated timeframe of five working days.

If dissatisfied with the committee’s decision, the pregnant woman, her spouse, or her legal guardian has the right to appeal within five working days. The final decision, issued by the Minister or head of the health authority, carries legal weight and must align with approved fatwas and legal opinions within the UAE.

Abortion procedures must be performed exclusively at licensed healthcare facilities equipped to handle such operations, under the supervision of specialized obstetrician-gynecologists. Detailed medical reports documenting pregnancy duration, reasons for the abortion, approvals obtained, and procedural steps taken must be meticulously maintained by attending physicians. Written consent from the pregnant woman is mandatory before the procedure, although in emergency situations, consent from her husband or legal guardian is permissible.

Abortion for Expatriates

Non-citizen pregnant women must have resided in the UAE for at least one year with valid residency status before they can apply for an abortion under these regulations.

These comprehensive regulations underscore the UAE's commitment to safeguarding women's health and ensuring clarity within the legal framework surrounding abortion. By establishing clear guidelines and oversight mechanisms, the UAE aims to promote safe and regulated abortion practices while upholding ethical standards and legal principles. This approach reflects a balance between respecting individual rights and adhering to cultural and religious values inherent in UAE society.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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