20 Aug 2008

Samoa's health services director welcomes abortion proposals

10:50 am on 20 August 2008

The Samoan clinical health service says allowing more women to legally terminate their child would save many lives in the country.

Abortions are illegal in Samoa, except in occasions where the life of a pregnant woman is in danger -- but they are still being performed, often in a village setting.

In its draft national policy on women, the Ministry of Woman's Affairs is presenting other factors where terminations should be allowed.

It suggests mental health reasons, stress and not being able to take care of a child.

The health services director, Dr Stanley Dean, says he would welcome a law change.

"People committing suicide, people trying to do their own traditional methods to induce an abortion. And we've seen women that can suffer from complications of septic abortions. So it costs lives of women if the law doesn't change to meet the needs."

Dr Stanley Dean says it would be much safer for women to have their abortions in a hospital under professional supervision and care.