Termination in the UAE: What The Law Says
Discover what the laws of the UAE says when it comes to terminating a pregnancy
5 September 2017
The law of the United Arab Emirates stipulates that terminating a pregnancy is considered a crime, and it’s forbidden locally, with only two exceptions: if the fetus will be born with birth defects or deformities, hence will not survive, or if the pregnancy possesses a threat to the mother.
And section 340 of the UAE penal code states that: "any person inducing a voluntary pregnancy termination in a pregnant woman by providing her with medicaments or by using instruments for this purpose is liable to up to five years' imprisonment." The penalty could reach up to seven years if the termination happens without the mother’s consent.
There are however, two exceptions to this law
If it is proved that the pregnancy carries detrimental effects on the mother’s life, it could be terminated using Medical Termination of Pregnancies (MTP). However, it still has to be done before the fourth month of pregnancy.
The termination procedure will also have to be approved with a medical panel, and the husband or guardian of the woman should provide written consent.
termination in the UAE becomes an option as well if some birth defects or deformities were discovered during pregnancy. In such cases, doctors should confirm that the baby will NOT survive if born. Even then, the procedure still needs to be done before 120 days of pregnancy has passed.
Other defects like Down Syndrome, a limb deformity, hydrocephalus, etc. all carry a chance of survival for the baby, and therefore, don’t justify a termination in the UAE.
Will this law ever be adjusted?
Some doctors and mothers are demanding an adjustment, in which an termination can still be considered after 120 days of pregnancy. They argue that some deformaties can’t be discovered until much later in pregnancy, hence putting both the mother’s and the child’s lives in danger.
Dr Nazura Siddiqi, a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at Bareen International Hospital in Abu Dhabi said that: “many abnormalities can only be detected around 150 to 160 days.”
While Dr Sameh Azzazy, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, said: “there should be no absolute deadline for terminating a pregnancy in cases of severe foetal abnormality.”
However, the law of abortion in the UAE has remained the same until this day. And neither the government, nor the responsible authority have commented on the aforementioned demands as of yet.