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Med Law. 2005 Mar;24(1):137-61.

Abortion legislation in Eritrea: an overview of law and practice.

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  • 1International Program on Reproductive and Sexual Health Law, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.


This article discusses legal issues related to the abortion provisions of the Transitional Penal Code of Eritrea. As is the case in many African countries, the current abortion law of Eritrea mainly was adopted from continental Europe four decades ago, reflecting the reality of the time. Despite the advancement in science and technology, which significantly determines the very definition and concept of abortion and contraception, the abortion law remains the same, save for minor amendments taken place in 1991. Due to the background of the abortion law and the shortcomings occurred during the amendment process, the law manifests legal gaps and limitations resulting in discrepancies between law and practice. The article, therefore, identifies and analyses the gaps of the abortion law in light of principles of criminal law, existing medical technology related to abortion, and experience of other countries.

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