Fiji Considers Making Abortion Legal, Despite Woman’s Abortion Death

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 27, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fiji Considers Making Abortion Legal, Despite Woman’s Abortion Death Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 27
, 2006

Suva, Fiji ( — The nation of Fiji, a Pacific island, is considering making abortion legal despite a recent botched abortion in which an abortion practitioner killed a college student. The nation is coming under pressure from foreign abortion advocates, who are also pressuring other nations in South America, Europe and Africa to change their laws.

Legal experts in Fiji have begun a three month review of the nation’s penal codes to determine whether abortion should be legalized and to examine other issues.

Fiji Law Reform Commission chairman Alipate Qetaki told the Fiji Times newspaper the goal is to "decide whether to decriminalize these offenses or retain existing laws."

Abortion advocates want the commission to allow abortions when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, if the mother is mentally "unfit" to care for the child after birth, if the pregnancy results from rape or incest, or if the woman had been using birth control at the time she became pregnant and it failed.

Christian groups on the island don’t want the government to legalize abortion and the Citizens Constitutional Forum in Fiji agrees.

CCF executive director Reverend Akuila Yabaki told Fiji Live, a news web site there, said abortions should only be allowed in extreme cases when the pregnancy could lead to the mother’s death.

The call for the law review comes after an abortion practitioner killed a 20 year-old student in a botched abortion.

Former Fiji Medical Association president Sachidar Nand Mudaliar was found guilty in the death of student Poonam Kumar for a botched abortion he did on her in March 2003.

Mudaliar’s lawyers are appealing his three year sentence on a conviction of manslaughter and filed papers to challenge it.

"The seriousness of the offense and the strength of the prosecution case outweigh the likelihood of success on appeal and time that would be served is not such that would tip the balance in favor of the applicant," the court’s three judges ruled in their initial decision.

The appeal in the case will be heard in the appeals court in November.

Officials found Kumar dead at Mudaliar’s abortion business in Nabua, after he left her overnight in his abortion business following her death.

Justice Anthony Gates said Mudaliar knew that Kumar was at risk if she underwent the abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant at the time and had excessive bleeding and shock after the abortion. The abortion tore her uterus and led to the massive bleeding.

In his ruling, Gates cited Mudaliar’s failure to transfer Kumar to the intensive care unit at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital once he noticed the abortion went awry.