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Key Legal Facts About Abortion in UAE

A pregnant woman reading about abortion in UAE


Abortion is a touchy issue, and laws vary based on the country. It is shocking to see that the fundamental right of abortion is very restricted to women. Abortion is a human right, but it is curtailed in Muslim countries. Therefore, it becomes difficult for women who are not prepared to have a baby.

According to the World Health Organisation, abortion is a right. The world health organization confirms that women have the right to choose whether to carry their pregnancies to term. Therefore, it becomes important to understand the nature of laws related to abortion in different countries. This article aims to discuss critical legal facts about abortion in UAE.

Views of Islam on Abortion

A pregnant woman holding his stomach

In the Middle East countries such as UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah), Kuwait, Qatar, etc., the laws and regulations are based on Islam. Islam forbids killing a life. Islam considers that an individual will have a life after he has attained a soul. It is believed that the fetus attains the soul after 120 days of fertilization.

The four schools of thought: Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali, and Maliki, have different views regarding the abortion of pregnancy. According to the Hanafi school, it is believed that the fetus attains the soul after 120 days of gestation. 

In contrast, the Maliki school believes that the fetus is ensouled at the point of conception, so abortion is not allowed at any stage of pregnancy. The Shafi school believes that the fetus is ensouled at 80 days, so abortion is only allowed till 80 days. The Hanbali school believes that the fetus attains the soul at 40 days. Some scholars believe that the child of rape is also legitimate, so it is a sin to kill a child. 

Risks of Illegal Abortion in UAE

A wooden blocks on "Abortion" in UAE

Pregnant mothers have to face a lot of difficulties if she wants to abort their child. A woman cannot terminate an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy unless the health of the woman is in danger. The laws of the UAE permit abortion before 120 days of conception. Article 340 of the UAE Penal Code mentions that any woman who undergoes an abortion will be detained for a maximum of one year period and/or fine not exceeding ten thousand dirhams.

If a person intentionally aborts a pregnant woman without her consent, he will be liable to a two-year detention or a ten thousand dirham fine. If the person aborts a pregnant woman without her consent, he will be liable to imprisonment for a maximum period of seven years. 

When a physician causes an abortion, a surgeon, pharmacist, midwife, or technician then that person will be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of five years. Abortion can be done if the pregnancy is detrimental to the woman’s health or if the baby will be born with cognitive disabilities, neurodevelopmental disorders, visual impairments, degrading eyesight, and other cognitive disorders. The abortion can occur only with the consent of the husband or guardian of the woman. The consent of the doctors before aborting a child is necessary. 

Risks of Buying Illegal Abortion Pills

In most countries, such as Abu Dhabi and Middle East countries where abortion laws are stricter, people resort to buying abortion pills. Abortion pills are also sold without a prescription, but it cannot be ensured whether they are fake or not. Therefore, one should never buy abortion pills from untrusted sources. 

There are possibilities that you may end up buying the wrong medicine. It may also happen that the pregnancy is not terminated, and an incomplete abortion happens when some tissue is left behind in the uterus.

If you are having an ectopic pregnancy and have been advised to have an abortion, the pill could have a severe impact on your health. Several other risks are associated with abortion pills, as mentioned below:

  • Infections
  • Internal Injury
  • Loss of reproductive health
  • Loss of fertility
  • Death

Laws on Abortion in UAE

A legamart lawyer explaining a muslim pregnant women on the abortion laws in UAE

Legal abortions are allowed in Middle East countries if the health of the woman is endangered. It is believed that the life of the soul creator is much more important than the fetus. Earlier, pregnancy was only considered legal in marriages, and legal abortion could take place with the help of a doctor in abortion services centres. A marriage certificate was required to be produced while undergoing an abortion. 

Couples who want to register their child may have to fly to several wedding destinations so that their marriage can be legally registered.​​​​ Federal Rule No. 3 of 2021 now decriminalizes pregnancy outside of marriage, and it is considered no longer illegal in Middle East countries. 

Medical Liability on Abortion Law

Safe abortion can only take place with the help of a medical professional. In such cases, it becomes vital to know the liability of the doctors who will perform the abortion. The Federal Decree-Law No. 4 of 2016 on Medical Liability mentions the liability of the doctor in cases of abortion.

A doctor cannot intervene in the pregnancy without the consent of the married couple. Abortion should not be done unless at least three physicians of the medical speciality board feel that the pregnancy will cause a severe impact on the woman’s health.

The written approval of the wife is necessary for performing an abortion. The abortion will be performed by a trained gynaecologist under the supervision of a physician. A report has to be prepared by the physician mentioning the reason for the abortion. The report has to be signed by the pregnant woman and her husband. The consent of the husband is not required in cases of emergency. 

Comparison of Abortion Laws in Muslim Countries

Abortion laws vary in every country. UAE is a Muslim country, and the laws of abortion are much more rigid. Similar laws have been developed in other Muslim countries. Tunisia was the first Muslim country which liberalizes its abortion laws. It permits abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Guinea allows abortion when the life of the pregnant woman is endangered if there is foetal impairment or in cases of rape. Unlike UAE, Qatar allows abortion to save the life of the pregnant woman or to preserve a woman’s physical health, or in cases of foetal impairment. 


In Muslim countries such as Abu Dhabi, Qatar, etc., unexpected pregnancy is very difficult. So people resort to unsafe abortion, which is readily available. Abortion is a right of all human beings and should be safe, legal, and accessible to people under all circumstances. 

Abortion is not allowed outside 120 days of pregnancy in the UAE except if it endangers the health of the mother. Thus, people who want to abort their child may have to navigate to a different location where abortion is legal. 

Abortion in UAE can happen only in exceptional circumstances because of the legal system in that nation. Thus it becomes crucial to know all the difficulties faced if you want to abort your pregnancy. So you must always consult a lawyer in UAE who can help you with all your doubts or queries regarding legal abortion.

Legamart offers the best solution for your issues regarding abortion. They have a network of excellent lawyers who can help you with legal challenges faced during the abortion.

Legamart offers the translation of various documents into several different languages. You can also get your legal queries solved through Legamart. Depending upon your requirement, you can choose from a dozen lawyers in the directory offered by Legamart.

Frequently asked questions

What is the law for pregnancy in the UAE for unmarried women?

Ans. Earlier, the child born out of wedlock was not given recognition. Now, a child can be given a birth certificate even without producing or fulfilling the requirements of the marriage certificate. The UAE court will have the discretion to register the child’s birth.

What is the alternative if a woman wants to abort her pregnancy except for the reasons mentioned in the UAE abortion law?

Ans. A woman who wants to abort her pregnancy can fly to a country where the abortion laws are a little lenient and could schedule an appointment with the clinic of that country for the abortion.

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