You are here

Home » Five A's

Abortion

Abortion is generally illegal in Mauritius under the Penal Code and is not permitted even if the life of the mother or the child is threatened. In spite of or probably because of these strict legal parameters, clandestine illegal abortions are being performed in all corners of the island, by untrained doctors, nurses, midwives and “wise women” and mostly under unsafe conditions. Some women do not want to carry their pregnancy to term for various reasons including failure in contraceptive use, desire to continue their education, inability to meet the basic needs of their prospective babies/ children, poor health conditions or un-preparedness to become mothers at that particular period of time in their lives.

An analysis of data from a new report published in by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that countries that permit abortion don't have lower maternal death rates. From the WEF's 2009 Gender Gap Report, it was found that, countries with the most restrictive abortion laws also had the lowest maternal death rates, while countries with more permissive laws tended to have higher maternal death rates.

In Europe, Ireland had the lowest maternal death rate with 1 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, while Poland was at 27 with 8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Both countries have very restrictive laws on abortion, while the U.S., which has "virtually no restrictions on abortion" has 11 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births.

Data from other regions also found that the countries with the most restrictive abortion bans also had the lowest maternal death rates:

In Africa, the country with the lowest maternal death rate (15 per 100,000) is Mauritius, which also has the toughest laws against abortion, while Ethiopia, which recently decriminalized abortion, has a rate 48 times higher (720 per 100,000). The African country with the most liberal abortion laws, South Africa, has a maternal death rate of 400 per 100,000 live births.

Post-abortion services are inadequate because of the absence of a law or policy that legitimizes abortion. This leads to some serious post-abortion complications and at times deaths. Government hospitals register about 2,000 cases of post-abortion complication cases annually.