Key controls and conditions:

  • A dedicated committee to be formed at each health authority - by a decision of the Minister of Health and Prevention or the head of the relevant health authority in the emirate - to thoroughly examine the abortion requests.
  • 5 cases of permissible abortion are defined, under clear conditions and controls.
  • The abortion procedure is to be carried out in a licensed healthcare facility by a licensed specialist physician.
  • The abortion procedure should be free of any medical complications that may endanger the pregnant woman’s life, and the gestational period at the time of the procedure should not exceed 120 days.

United Arab Emirates: The Ministry of Health and Prevention has announced the defined cases of permissible abortion and their controls and procedures, to preserve the pregnant woman’s life, ensure her safety, and enhance oversight of healthcare facilities operating in the UAE.

Regulatory controls and procedures

The Ministry has affirmed that new controls and procedures were issued to define and regulate cases of permissible abortion in the UAE. The new regulation stipulates that the decision on abortion requests shall be made by a dedicated committee that will be formed within each health authority by a decision of the Minister of Health and Prevention or the head of the emirate’s health authority. The committee should comprise 3 doctors, one of them is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist, the second is a psychiatry specialist, in addition to a representative of the Public Prosecution. The Committee is permitted to consult a third party with the appropriate specialty and expertise when needed.

The Ministry stated that conducting an abortion procedure is permissible if continuing the pregnancy endangers the pregnant woman’s life, in the absence of any alternative way to save her life, or if the fetus’s deformation is severe, proven, and will affect the newborn’s health and life. This case should be supported by a medical report issued by a specialised medical committee. Several other cases of permissible abortion have been defined, provided that the gestational period at the time of the abortion procedure does not exceed 120 days.

The regulation stipulates also that the abortion procedure should be performed only in a healthcare facility licensed by the competent health authority to perform abortions, the procedure should be performed by a specialist obstetrician-gynecologist licensed to practice within the country, and the abortion should be free of any medical complications which may put the pregnant woman’s life at high risk.

Responsibilities and obligations of healthcare facilities

The relevant healthcare authorities are committed to developing a policy that details the responsibilities and obligations of the healthcare facilities and medical staff in charge of the abortion procedure for the above-mentioned cases. It should detail also the rights and responsibilities of the pregnant woman subject to the abortion procedure, and explain to her the necessary health care requirements before and after the abortion procedure. Healthcare facilities in the UAE have also been obligated, by the new controls, to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the personal data of a pregnant woman undergoing an abortion. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the health authority to monitor and supervise the activities of the healthcare facilities licensed to perform abortions and evaluate their compliance.