ALGERIA – The conservatives have won this round
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Apr 6, 2018
It was not considered a surprise that a bill tabled in the National Popular Assembly (AFN) last November, which aimed to broaden the grounds for legal abortion, failed to pass. This is attributed to a revival of conservatism in the country, confirming the apprehensions of many feminist activists. Three clauses on abortion were tabled as part of the draft law on health and were reviewed by the Commission on Health and Social Affairs of the AFN. All three clauses were related to therapeutic abortion.
The only clause that was not rejected was the one that permitted abortion to save the woman’s life. Even if there is an emergency, that clause does not permit one doctor to take the decision alone, and the abortion must take place only in a public hospital, carried out by a gynaecologist. But as Nadia Chouitem, a doctor and member of the Commission says: “A pregnant woman with a medical emergency can lose her life if she lives in a part of the country where there is no gynaecologist in the public hospital, which is common in Algeria. If the emergency occurs at night or at the weekend, or if there is no gynaecologist on duty, death is the risk a woman takes take if she becomes pregnant.”