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UAE Expands Legal Grounds for Abortion with New Resolution

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UAE Introduces New Abortion Resolution: Here’s What You Need to Know

Three New Cases Permissible for Abortion, Conditions That Need to Be Met

A new legislation, Cabinet Resolution No. (44) of 2024, expands the legal grounds for abortion in the UAE, coming into effect on June 21, 2024. The resolution aims to protect women’s lives while maintaining social stability by clearly defining the conditions and procedures for permissible abortions.

Major Changes Under the New Legislation

Previously, abortion was only permissible in two situations: when the mother’s life or the fetus’s life was at risk, and when the fetus had severe deformities. The new resolution adds three more circumstances in Article 4, allowing abortions if the pregnancy results from:

1. Rape

2. Incest

3. Forceful intercourse where consent was not provided or could not be provided, such as in cases of mental impairment

Additionally, abortions can be permitted at the request of spouses, although further clarification is needed on specific applicable situations.

Specific Cases for Abortion

1. Non-consensual Intercourse: If the pregnancy results from intercourse without the woman’s consent or with consent that is not valid, such as in cases of mental impairment.

2. Incestuous Relationships: If the person causing the pregnancy is a relative with whom marriage is permanently unlawful.

3. Spousal Request: Abortions can be requested by spouses, subject to committee approval.

Proof for the above cases must be provided by an official report from the Competent Public Prosecution Office detailing the incident.

Consent Requirements

While the woman’s consent is generally required, exceptions include:

– Inability to Provide Consent: If the woman cannot consent, the spouse or guardian’s consent is required due to the woman’s dependency on them for medical insurance and guardianship.

Emergency Situations

No spousal or guardian consent is required in emergencies, as per Article 5 (5) of the resolution.

Key Conditions for Abortion

Abortions can only be performed under specific conditions:

– Report from Public Prosecution: A report of the charges must be provided.

– Pregnancy Duration: The pregnancy must be less than 120 days old.

– Health Risk: The woman’s life must not be at risk.

A dedicated committee within each health authority will review abortion requests, ensuring compliance with these conditions.

Conditions for Expatriates

Expatriate women must hold a valid UAE residence permit for at least one year before requesting an abortion.

Approval Authority

A committee consisting of medical professionals from obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and a public prosecution representative will review and approve abortion requests. They may also seek additional specialist consultations and issue decisions based on a religious edict (fatwa) for Muslims.

Approval Process

The committee will examine the application and supporting documents within five days of submission. A fatwa may be required for issuing decisions in certain jurisdictions, particularly for Muslim applicants.

Appeal Process

The resolution provides an appeal process for the pregnant woman, her husband, or her guardian if the committee rejects the abortion request.

Conducting Abortions

Abortions must adhere to strict conditions:

Authorized Facilities: The procedure must be performed in a facility authorized by the competent health authority.

Qualified Professionals: A licensed specialist obstetrician-gynecologist must perform the abortion, with the approval of the treating physician.

Safety: The abortion should not cause medical complications that threaten the woman’s life.

Comprehensive Care: The healthcare facility must provide medical and social support services before and after the abortion.

Conclusion

The new abortion resolution in the UAE significantly broadens the scope for legal abortions, adding provisions for cases of rape, incest, and forceful intercourse. This legislation underscores the UAE’s commitment to protecting women’s health and social stability.

If you require assistance navigating these new regulations or need legal advice, Al Kabban & Associates is here to provide expert legal guidance and support. Feel free to contact us on info@alkabban.com or by phone on +971 4 453 9090 to schedule a consultation with one of our many expert legal consultants.

Follow us on social media for more updates on everything law related in the UAE: @AlKabban_Law

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