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ABORTION AND THE LAW

WHAT IS ABORTION?

Abortion is the process of intentionally removing an unborn child or fetus from a pregnant mother’s womb.

WHAT IS THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE LATELY AS REGARDS ABORTION?
The global view to abortion is quite divergent. As some nations legitimise abortion, others outrightly find it illegal. The global view has overtime been controversial as per the stand on abortion to an extent of entertaining debate on the advantages versus disadvantages of abortion.

SCOTLAND AS A CASE STUDY;
In Scotland, abortion is legal if the fetus is below the gestational age of 24 weeks. During that period, the fetus is not yet considered human in nature.
AUSTRALIA AS A CASE STUDY;
In Australia, whether abortion is legal depends on where you live, as does the cost and availability of the procedure. And that’s because abortion laws are made by state and territory governments, not the Federal Government.

Another form of global argument towards abortion has been raised by fraction of individuals that uphold the “my body, my rights” notion implying that since it is their body carrying the fruit of the womb, what they do with it is entirely up to them and is no one’s business.
Another question that has arisen is whether the supposed father to an unborn child has a right to choose whether a pregnant mother should abort or continue the term of pregnancy. Some schools of thought purport that since the father part of the conception process, shouldn’t he have a say in what happens to his child even if someone else is carrying the pregnancy in their body?
There are a number of arguments for or against abortion as a practice.

WHAT IS THE POSITION OF THE UGANDAN LAW ON ABORTION?
The guiding law on abortion is the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Penal Code Act Cap 120.
Abortion is generally frowned upon in Uganda both from legal and moral or traditional standpoints. The highest law of the land, which is the Ugandan Constitution, specifies that no person has a right to terminate the life of an unborn child except as permitted under the law.

A woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy will find great difficulty because also found within the Penal Code Act is a provision that makes abortion illegal and terms it as the killing of an unborn child under section 212 of the Penal Code Act. The Law clearly states that the living and the unborn have a right to life therefore making it unacceptable to perform an abortion.

DOES THE LAW IN UGANDA PROVIDE ANY EXCEPTION IN HANDLING THREATS TO A PREGNANT MOTHER’S LIFE?
The law as a matter of general principle discourages abortion however there are a few notable exceptions that could require a medical practitioner to perform an abortion where the life of the pregnant mother is noted to be at risk due to the pregnancy and where it is discovered that the unborn child may not make it to the full term of the pregnancy due to a biological complication.
We understand that abortion is a delicate subject that needs to be discussed with consideration of several variables. As this debate ensues, it is essential that we highlight that in Uganda abortion is still unlawful and it is only in authorized circumstances having followed guided and lawful procedures that an abortion may be carried out in Uganda.

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