(Clandestine abortion: Chafik Chraïbi regrets that law reform seems stillborn)
Chafik Chraïbi, president of the Association marocaine de lutte contre l’avortement clandestin (AMLAC, Moroccan Association of Struggle against Clandestine Abortion), an obstetrician-gynaecologist who has been campaigning for many years for the government to extend access to safe abortion, seems to be losing hope that anything will ever change. But he refuses to stop his fight for the law reform that was agreed in June 2016 by a government appointed advisory committee. He has recently submitted a letter to the government as recent reforms have made little progress. He talks of looking back 5, 7, 10 years at documents in which those with responsibility in government have promised to change the situation to allow abortion on the grounds that have been agreed.
“Je continuerai à revendiquer que l’article 453 du code pénal marocain doit inclure la santé physique, mentale et sociale de la femme. C’est très facile à faire, nous n’avons qu’à appliquer la définition de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) dont le Maroc est adhérent”, rappelle-t-il.
« I continue to argue that Article 453 of the Moroccan Penal Code must include allowing abortion to protect the physical, mental and social health of women. It is very easy to do, we only have to apply the definition of health of the World Health Organization, which Morocco adheres to. »
He also calls for law reform to protect health professionals from being imprisoned for providing safe abortions. He has tried to find out from the head of the prison service how many are behind bars for doing clandestine abortions, but he has not succeeded in getting an answer. “Je ne sais pas combien de médecins sont aujourd’hui derrière les barreaux pour avortement clandestin. Je suis allé à la Délégation générale des prisons du Maroc pour connaître le chiffre, mais les causes exactes des condamnations ne sont malheureusement pas consignées sur les registres”.
And he calls for widespread mobilisation, especially through the media, because abortion is above all a social issue, which concerns everyone, he says. “Il faut plus de mobilisation notamment dans les médias, parce que la cause est d’abord sociale, elle concerne tout le monde”.