Abortion in Vanuatu

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Abortion in Vanuatu is severely restricted by criminal law.[1] Abortion is illegal under the provisions of section 117 of the Vanuatu Penal Code, Act No. 17 or 7 August 1981.[2] The code states that any women who intentionally induces a miscarriage is subject to up to two years' imprisonment.[1] Abortion is illegal in cases of rape, incest, and threats to fetal health.[3] The only allocations for abortion are to save the life or the pregnant women and to preserve physical and mental health.[citation needed] Under section 113 of the code the legal abortion must be done before the 28th week of pregnancy.[citation needed]

Self-induced abortions[edit]

The Vanuatu Family Health Association reports various methods women use for self-induced abortions, including the use of local leaves or bark from a tree.[3] Abortions like this that are outside of the medical system endanger the lives of women, as even an immediate visit to a nearby hospital or clinic may be futile if that medical facility does not have the equipment to repair any damage.[3]


  1. ^ a b Abortion Policies: Oman to Zimbabwe. United Nations Publications. 2001. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Abortion Policies: a review of policies, legislation and social indicators for the South Pacific". www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  3. ^ a b c Graue, Catherine (20 June 2014). "New study to research Vanuatu's illegal abortions with fears rates are increasing". ABC News. Retrieved 23 November 2014.