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Floating abortion clinic arrives in Morocco

Audio 05:53
Les Marocaines pourront avoir recours à l'avortement à bord du navire de l'ONG "Women on waves".
Les Marocaines pourront avoir recours à l'avortement à bord du navire de l'ONG "Women on waves". http://www.womenonwaves.org

Thursday's expected arrival of a Dutch abortion clinic aboard a boat in Morocco has revived the debate over the practise in the north African country. Although abortion is illegal in Morocco, it is still widespread. According to unofficial estimates, between 600 and 800 women undergo an illegal abortion every day. Dr Iman Khashani, a gynaecologist and member of the Moroccan Association for the Fight Against Clandestine Abortion, wants   abortion to be made legal.

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Moroccan authorities are unhappy about the arrival of the boat, which is stoking controversy about abortion.

Earlier this week Prime minister Abdelilah Benkiran said the move was a provocation and that both the law and Islam forbid abortion.

But the ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD) tried to organise a debate in parliament on the issue a few weeks ago and its deputy national secretary, Abdallah Baha, says Moroccans must talk about this issue.

"This is an issue that involves a lot of passion and discussion, and we believe that it should be discussed in public," he told RFI. "Everyone in Moroccan society needs to be aware of this issue, so that we can reach a consensus – what are the limits of abortion law?"

Opinon in the country stretches from those who don't even want to talk about it to those in favour of complete legalisation, Baha says.

"We can look at what’s been done in other Muslim countries and perhaps study these cases, to see what we can do and what we can’t do. It affects Moroccan society, so there must be a consensus, it can’t be a matter where politicians are trying to outdo one another."

 

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