Morocco’s penal code criminalizes abortion unless it is necessary to save the mother’s life, in which case her spouse must consent to the operation.
Rabat – Marrakech police arrested 11 individuals, including a doctor and four nurses, for their alleged involvement in practicing illegal abortion at a private clinic in the ochre city.
The doctor, 77, owns the clinic and works with four nurses to carry out illegal abortions, said a statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN).
The statement said police in Marrakech received complaints about the clinic, prompting the local prosecutor in charge of similar cases to open an investigation.
Police arrested customers during the security operation, including a 17-year-old minor accompanied by a man who had an “illegal relationship with her.”
The list of detainees also includes a relative of the minor, a pregnant woman who was carrying out medical tests to prepare for an abortion, and two women who previously underwent illegal abortion surgery at the clinic.
Police put eight of the defendants in custody, while the minor is under police supervision, the statement said.
The two women who had previously received services from the clinic were subjected to a preliminary investigation to determine their involvement in the case.
Article 453 of Morocco’s penal code criminalizes abortion unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother. In this case, abortion can be openly practiced with the spouse’s authorization.
Both the doctor and the patient can face charges in the case of an illegal abortion.
For years, activists and feminists have been advocating for abortion rights in Morocco. The campaign grew in 2019 after the arrest of Moroccan journalist, Hajar Raissouni. Police arrested and charged her for alleged sex outside marriage and illegal abortion.
The journalist’s case pushed feminists to demand respect for individualism and to call for a law that abolishes the criminalization of abortion.
Raissouni, who continues to deny the accusations against her, received a royal pardon from King Mohammed VI.