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January 17, 2023
Under the UAE laws, abortion is broadly regulated under two laws. These are the Federal Decree Law 31 of 2021 On the Issuance of Crimes and Penalties Law (UAE Penal Code) and the Federal Decree-Law No. 4 of 2016 On Medical Liability (Medical Liability Law).
Law on Abortion under the UAE Penal Code
Under Article 391 of the UAE Penal Code, a pregnant woman who willfully aborts by any means, shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and/or a fine not more than AED 10,000 or more.
If any other person causes a pregnant woman to abort with her consent, he will be liable to imprisonment for at least 2 years or a fine of a minimum of AED 10,000.
The UAE Penal Code, under Article 391 further states that if the person causing the abortion is a physician, surgeon, pharmacist, midwife, or any other technician, the penalty shall be temporary imprisonment for a period not exceeding five (5) years. This punishment is without prejudice to any more severe penalty provided for in any other law.
If a person wilfully causes a pregnant woman to abort without her consent, such a person will be sentenced to temporary imprisonment for a maximum of 7 years.
Law on Abortion under the Medical Liability Law
The Medical Liability Law also provides prohibitions on the doctor to conduct abortion subject to certain conditions.
Article 16 of the Medical Liability Law states that a doctor may not conduct any abortion operation or make a prescription which will result in abortion, except in the following cases.
This is subject to certain specified conditions, which are as follows:
Any doctor who engages in the abortion of a pregnant woman deliberately, irrespective of whether she consented or not, will be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of 4 years under Article 33 of the Medical Liability Law. If the abortion leads to the death of the victim, the doctor may be subject to harsher penalties – imprisonment between 5 to 10 years.
The above information might not apply if both parties are non-muslim. Starting from the 1st of February 2023, UAE issued specific family law to be applied between non-muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.