MOROCCO – Safe Abortion Day: Moroccan activists and UN Women call for change


Some 600 to 800 clandestine abortions occur in Morocco every day.September 28, International Safe Abortion Day, was a day of action in Morocco this year, following the recent death of an adolescent girl who underwent an illegal abortion. The country experienced public outrage as the laws against abortion left Meriem, a 14-year-old girl, with no option but to get a secret, unsafe abortion. She was a victim of sexual exploitation and became pregnant by her abuser. The abortion was carried out in the home of her abuser, by a woman who pretended to be a nurse. It resulted in severe bleeding, leading to her death.A protest to encourage a change in the law was held outside the Parliament in Rabat at 5pm, led by Yasmina Benslimane, founder of Politics4her, which advocates for female empowerment and has initiated a movement in Morocco. She posted a video on LinkedIn pleading with people to sign the Petition pour Meriem to push for the Moroccan abortion law to be changed. Their hope is that the country does not have to experience the loss of another woman or girl due to unsafe abortion, whether she has been subjected to rape or incest, or her health is threatened by a pregnancy.The group Spring of Dignity Alliance has also called for reform of the country’s abortion law and access to safe and legal abortion. They denounced the “heinous act and the double violence” that this young girl was subjected to. They demanded “radical and comprehensive” reform of Morocco’s criminal law in terms of “philosophy, structure and language”. They stressed that the law should be in line with the national constitution, as well as international covenants. They called for decriminalisation of abortion and regulating it within a public health code in line with the new World Health Organization recommendations.

SOURCES: Morocco World News, by Olivia Hooper, 28 September 2022 ; Morocco World News, by Sara Zouiten, 15 September 2022 ; VISUAL: petition