20 Aug 2008

Samoan Ministry plans to extend grounds for abortion

10:49 am on 20 August 2008

The Samoan Ministry of Woman's Affairs says it plans to widen the scope of circumstances under which abortions should be allowed.

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

In its draft national policy on women, the ministry is presenting other factors where terminations should be allowed.

Its chief executive officer Luagalau Fo'isaga'asina Eteuati Shon says it should include traumatised and stressed women.

"To consider the mental health risks associated with pregnancy and not being able to take care of a child, the stigma associated with being pregnant or the birth of a child out of wedlock. Those types of considerations we're looking at and hopfully we will reduce the utilisation of illegal abortion practices."

Luagalau Fo'isaga'asina Eteuati Shon says the draft policy will be presented to the womens affairs minister at the end of this month and will then be taken to cabinet.