Beninese MPs have voted to legalize abortion in the West African country, where it was already authorized under restricted conditions.
According to the new law passed Wednesday night, women can terminate a pregnancy within the first three months if it is likely to “aggravate or cause material, educational, professional or moral discomfort, incompatible with the interests of the woman or the fetus. “.
Previously, abortion was authorized if pursuing the pregnancy “threatened the life of the mother”, was “the result of rape or incest” or when “the fetus is particularly severely affected.”
After a heated debate in parliament, with some lawmakers strongly opposed to further legalizing abortion, the amendment was finally passed.
“In Benin, nearly 200 women die each year as a result of abortion complications,” Health Minister Benjamin Hounkpatin said in a statement on Thursday.
“This measure will be a relief to many women who face unwanted pregnancies and are forced to put their lives in danger with failed abortions,” he added.
The influential Benin Episcopal Conference said in a statement that it was “very concerned about the proposed law to legalize abortions.”