A Comprehensive Guide to UAE's New Abortion Regulations

A Comprehensive Guide to UAE's New Abortion Regulations

New regulations have been introduced regarding the timing and methods of abortions in the country.

These rules aim to broaden the conditions under which abortions can be performed while also establishing a framework to ensure the procedure is both safe and legal. Here's everything you need to know about the new law.

When is it allowed?

Abortions are permitted in the following circumstances:

  1. Pregnancy resulting from sexual assault or non-consensual intercourse.
  2. Pregnancy resulting from incestuous relationships within the woman's family.
  3. With the approval of a committee, upon the spouses' request, details of which are unspecified in the resolution.
  4. When continuation of the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the pregnant woman.
  5. When severe fetal deformities are diagnosed that could significantly impact the newborn's health and life.

What are the procedural requirements?

The abortion should occur within 120 days of pregnancy and without endangering the pregnant woman's life due to medical complications.

Who will be on the regulatory committee?

Abortion requests will be reviewed by a dedicated committee appointed either by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) or the head of a local health authority. This committee must consist of three specialists: an obstetrics and gynecology specialist, a psychiatrist, and a representative from the Public Prosecution.

What occurs after submitting a request?

The committee may consult experts and request more documents before making a decision within 5 business days. The decision, which must align with approved State Fatwa authorities, will either approve or reject the abortion request. It must be unanimous; any disagreement among committee members will be escalated to the Minister or Head of the health authority.

Can decisions be appealed?

The pregnant woman, her husband, or guardian may appeal the committee's decision within 5 working days. The final decision made by the Minister or Head of the health authority will be final.

Where are abortions performed?

The abortion must be conducted at a licensed healthcare facility by a specialist obstetrician-gynecologist.

The healthcare providers at the facility must prepare a report detailing the pregnancy duration, reasons for the abortion, necessary approvals, and the procedures followed from the woman's admission.

Additionally, the facility must offer both medical and social counseling before and after the procedure.

The pregnant woman's consent is necessary for an abortion. If she cannot provide consent, her husband's or guardian's consent is required. In emergencies, consent is not needed.

Do expatriates have the right to seek abortion?

Non-citizen pregnant women must hold a valid UAE residency permit for at least 1 year prior to requesting an abortion.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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