Abortion law Liberia


Background (From the UN country report)

"In 1976, the Liberian Penal Law was amended to incorporate new abortion provisions. Under Section 16.3 of the Law, the performance of abortions is prohibited except when a licensed physician believes that there is a substantial risk that continuation of the pregnancy would gravely impair the physical or mental health of the mother, or that the child would be born with a grave physical or mental defect, or that the pregnancy resulted from rape, incest, or other felonious intercourse.  Intercourse with a girl under 16 years of age is forbidden and deemed felonious for the purpose of the law. 

Two physicians, one of whom may be the physician performing the abortion, must certify in writing as to the circumstances that justify the procedure. Certificates from the two physicians must be submitted in advance to the hospital where the abortion is to be performed or to the Minister of Health if the abortion is not to be performed in a hospital. The certificates must also be submitted to the County Attorney or the police if the pregnancy resulted from felonious intercourse.  Failure to comply with any of these requirements gives rise to the presumption that the abortion was unjustified.

There are various penalties for failing to comply with the law.  Any person performing an illegal abortion commits a felony of the third degree or, if the duration of the pregnancy exceeds 24 weeks, a felony of the second degree. A woman whose pregnancy exceeds 24 weeks commits a felony of the third degree if she purposely induces her own abortion, or if she uses instruments, drugs or violence upon herself for the purpose of inducing an abortion. A person who knowingly assists a woman to use instruments, drugs or violence upon herself for the purpose of terminating her own pregnancy commits a felony of the third degree regardless of whether the duration of the pregnancy exceeds 24 weeks. If, by representing that his or her purpose is to perform an abortion, a person performs an act designed to cause abortion--even though the woman is not pregnant or the person does not believe that she is pregnant--that person is considered to have committed a felony of the third degree. Under the Law, Section 16.3 does not apply to the prescription, administration or distribution of drugs or other substances for avoiding pregnancy, whether by preventing implantation of a fertilized ovum or by any other method that operates before, at, or immediately after fertilization."

Source: http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/abortion/doc/liberia.doc