Abortion law Ethiopia


Abortion Law

In May 2005, Ethiopia’s new Criminal Code came into effect. The government revised the code to permit abortion for an expanded range of indications. These include: when the pregnancy results from rape or incest; when the health or life of the woman or the fetus is in danger; in cases of fetal abnormalities; for women with physical or mental disabilities; and for minors who are physically or psychologically unprepared to raise a child.

The revised law also notes that poverty and other social factors may be grounds for reducing the criminal penalty for abortion. In addition, the revised code stipulates that the woman’s word is all that is needed to justify pregnancy termination in cases of rape and incest. Unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality in Ethiopia. Nearly one third of pregnancy related deaths are caused by the complications of unsafe abortion.

Misoprostol Availability

Misoprostol is available under the brand name Misotac. 


Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) ?

720 (2005)

Births attended by skilled health personnel (%) rural ?

2.6 (2005)

Births attended by skilled health personnel (%) urban ?

44.6 (2005)

Births attended by skilled health personnel difference urban-rural ?

42.0 (2005)

Penal Code

Medical Guidelines for Abortion