20.2.4  Legal aspects of abortion in Ethiopia

Prior to 2004, abortion was permitted in Ethiopia only to save a woman’s life, protect her health and in cases of rape. According to the new penal code, adopted in 2004, abortion is not punishable when it is performed to save a woman’s life or health; in cases of rape, incest or serious fetal impairment; or when a pregnant woman lacks the capacity to care for a child because of her young age or her deficient physical or mental health. As a step toward implementing the new law, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health released guidelines for safe abortion services in June 2006, which set out basic principles and standards for the delivery of abortion care.

  • Semira comes to see you and says she is pregnant. She is in good health. She has no stable partner and she does not want the baby. Does Ethiopian law provide for her to have a legal abortion? Explain why or why not.

  • Semira is not eligible for the abortion service in Ethiopia unless she was raped, the father is a close relative (incest), or she is not able to care for the baby because of serious mental or physical illness.

20.2.3  Clinical classification of abortion

20.2.5  Methods of provision of abortion