Togo Legalizes Rape, Incest Abortions as Abortion Expands in Africa

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 2, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Togo Legalizes Rape, Incest Abortions as Abortion Expands in Africa Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 2
, 2007

Lome, Togo ( — The African nation of Togo has become one just a handful of countries on the continent to legalize some forms of abortion. The western African nation now allows abortions in cases of rape or incest and the change is seen as a possible harbinger of things to come as pro-abortion groups seek to topple pro-life laws in Africa.

According to a Reuters report, the small country recently published a new abortion law.

The law says abortions can only be done by a doctor in rape or incest cases. Abortions are allowed "if there is a strong risk that the unborn child will by affected by a particularly serious medical condition."

Otherwise, anyone involved in an illegal abortion would be sent to prison for up to five years.

Women in Togo rarely use contraception and United Nations figures show the fertility rate at around six children per woman, much higher than the 1.5 children per woman in most industrialized nations.

The cultural and religious beliefs of many African nations lead them to oppose abortions.

"Women in poorer countries need practical help during pregnancy and after birth. Most cultures do not like abortion, and most women want to have their babies," the British pro-life group LIFE once said of the countries.

"We in the affluent countries should not promote the killing of the unborn children of poorer women, by funding expensive abortion programs. Instead our Governments should fund pre-and postnatal health care," the pro-life group said.

But UN agencies and pro-abortion groups want African countries and nations in South America and Europe to make abortion legal and say the rights of women can’t be respected unless they do.

African nations have largely resisted those efforts and some countries, including Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, Libya and others have led efforts to keep language promoting abortion out of treaties and other key UN documents.

Polls, including an October survey conducted by the Pew Research firm show that residents of African nations are strongly pro-life.
The poll asked respondents whether they believed abortion was always justified, sometimes justified, or never justified.

People living in Kenya broke down into a 0/11/88 percentage split on those categories, Nigeria citizens opposed abortion by a 1/4/94 percentage margin and South African residents opposed abortion on a 8/16/73 percentage split.

Pew also asked residents of each of the nations a biased question about whether "the government should not interfere with a woman’s ability to have an abortion."

Citizens of Kenya were most likely to say they disagree with the statement while residents of South Africa were about evenly split.

Pew’s survey polled anywhere from 600-1,005 people in each country and the polls were taken from May to September.