UAE Law Eases Abortion Consent Rules, Protects Pregnant Women Lives

A modification to a preexisting legislation in the UAE has facilitated the execution of abortions by medical practitioners in critical situations involving the life of the mother. This significant change, according to attorneys in the country, places the expectant woman in charge of her health.

An amendment to UAE legislation now allows medical professionals to perform abortions without requiring the consent of a woman's husband or male relatives in cases where the mother's life is at risk. Under the revised law, the pregnant woman's consent takes precedence in determining whether an abortion should be conducted.

However, if the woman is incapacitated, her husband or male relatives defined by the Personal Status Law may provide consent. Emergency situations that demand immediate surgical intervention do not necessitate consent.

Abortions are permitted under two conditions: when the continuation of the pregnancy threatens the woman's life or when the fetus is proven to have a serious deformity. The amendment removes the previous restriction that limited abortions to within 120 days of gestation if the pregnancy posed a risk to the mother. Furthermore, the cabinet now has the authority to designate other permissible cases for abortion, showcasing the UAE's adaptability to diverse cultures and its commitment to progress.

The medical liability law underscores practitioners' obligations to balance the sanctity of life and patient autonomy, requiring them to use appropriate diagnostic technologies, ensure patient confidentiality, and obtain informed consent. Abortions performed outside the specified conditions, even with parental consent, are punishable by imprisonment, with a more severe penalty if the procedure results in the victim's death.

Medical professionals have welcomed the amendment, noting that it aligns with recent legal developments and alleviates emotional distress for women requiring abortions due to medical reasons. Dr. Susmita Das, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist, emphasized the importance of the amendment, particularly for single mothers who no longer need male relatives' consent. This change in the law facilitates necessary medical procedures and reflects the UAE's evolving legal landscape.

Read also: UAE Authority Launches Emirates Nuclear and Radiological Academy

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