September 27, 2020

Abortion Law in Pakistan

In 1990, the Pakistan government revised the colonial-era Penal Code of 1860 with respect to abortion. The revisions sought to conform better to Islamic teachings regarding offenses against the human body. Under the 1990 revision, the conditions for legal abortion depend on the developmental stage of the fetus—that is, whether the fetus’s organs are formed or not. Islamic scholars have usually considered the fetus’s organs to be formed by the fourth month of gestation. Before formation of the organs, abortions are permitted to save the woman’s life or in order to provide “necessary treatment.” After organs are formed, abortions are permitted only to save the woman’s life. Likewise, the penalties for illegal abortion depend on the fetus’s developmental stage at the time of the abortion. Before organs are formed, the offense is penalized under civil law (ta’zir), by imprisonment for 3–10 years. After organs are formed, traditional Islamic penalties, in the form of compensation (diyat), are imposed. Depending on the outcome of the abortion,imprisonment may be imposed as well.

Source: United Nations Population Division, Abortion Policies: A Global Review,

Attached is a useful document from  the Population Policy Data Bank maintained by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United   Nations Secretariat.

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