West Africa’s Benin votes to legalise abortion

"In Benin, nearly 200 women die each year as the result of abortion complications," said health minister Benjamin Hounkpatin

West Africa’s Benin votes to legalise abortion

Parliamentarians in Benin have voted to legalise abortion in the West African country, where it was already authorised under restricted conditions.

Under the new law, passed late Wednesday, women can terminate a pregnancy within the first three months if it is likely to “aggravate or cause material, educational, professional or moral distress, incompatible with the woman or the unborn child’s interest.”

LEGALISING ABORTION 

Previously, abortion was authorised if pursing the pregnancy “threatened the life of the mother”, was “the result of a rape or incest” or when “the unborn child has a particularly severe affection”.

After a heated debate in parliament, with some lawmakers strongly opposed to legalising abortion further, the amendment finally passed.

READ: Abortion stigma a possible death sentence for Kenyan women

BENIN COMPLICATIONS 

Several countries in Africa have total bans on abortion, including Congo-Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal. 

“In Benin, nearly 200 women die each year as the result of abortion complications,” said health minister Benjamin Hounkpatin in a statement Thursday. 

“This measure will be a relief for many women who face undesired pregnancies, and are forced to put their lives in danger with botched abortions,” he added.

SAVE HUMAN LIVES 

The minister said that complications from abortions were the cause of 20% of maternal deaths in the country.

“It is because of this public health threat that the government has taken its responsibilities by submitting a text that lawmakers have passed,” said Hounkpatin.

He said the new measure’s “unique goal” was to “save human lives” and that “voluntary termination of pregnancies will remain a last resort”.

‘DESTROYS LIFE’ 

The influential Episcopal Conference of Benin said it was “highly preoccupied by the proposed law to legalise abortions”.

“Abortion not only destroys the life of the foetus but also that of the mother, in many aspects,” the religious group said in a statement.

Abortion laws vary wildly around the world, but only a minority of countries have outright bans.

LEGISLATION TURNS LIBERAL

Women from Europe, North America and Oceania benefit from the most liberal legislation, in some cases acquired only recently.New Zealand, for example, only decriminalised abortion in March 2020. Up to then, it was punishable with a 14-year prison term.

by Josue MEHOUENOU

© Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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Hawks kill six illegal miners and arrest 87 others after shootout in Orkney

A multidisciplinary team led by the Hawks descended on an alleged illegal mining operation in Orkney, North West on Wednesday night. Six people were fatally wounded in the shootout.

Hawks kill six illegal miners and arrest 87 others after shootout in Orkney

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said six suspects were shot and killed and two others were wounded during an intelligence-driven operation in Orkney, North West on Wednesday night, 20 October,

HAWKS, OTHERS ENGAGE IN SHOOTOUT WITH MINERS

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katleho Mogale said 87 suspects – aged between 25 and 49 – were arrested.

“It is reported that upon execution of information received, the multi-disciplinary team comprising of the Hawks, Task Force, National Intervention Unit, District Crime Combatting Unit, NW Airwing, Explosives Unit, Bidvest Protea Coin Security and Local Criminal Record Centre descended upon the identified shaft where they were met with the suspects’ gunfire,” said Mogale.

The Hawks spokesperson said the multi-disciplinary team returned fire and eight suspects were wounded and six of them succumbed to their injuries, while a member of the law enforcement team was wounded.

The two wounded suspects that did not die were taken to hospital under police guard, said Mogale.

The multi-disciplinary team seized two taxis, illegal mining paraphernalia, gold bearing material and 11 illegal firearms, including three shotguns, three rifles, four pistols and a single revolver, along with bags of food.

The arrested suspects are expected to appear before the Orkney Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 25 October 2021, where they will face charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of gold, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of prohibited firearms, theft and conspiracy to commit an offence.

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Source : The South African More   

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