The 'Right to Life' of the Unborn Child and the Practice of Abortion for Rape and Incest Victims in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


Despite recent efforts by some scholars, there is one group of children who remain undertheorized and under-studied, and that is the unborn child. Most importantly, there is very lim ited discussion about whether protection for the life of the unborn child begins at birth, some time before or at conception. The situation in Ethiopia is no exception in this regard . Therefore, this study looks at the extent in which protection for the life of the unborn child is provided under international human rig hts law. It also examines the protections available for the life of the unborn child under Ethiopia 's law. In principle abortion is a crime under Ethiopjan law. [t is only based on the exceptionally stipulated grounds of the law that legal abortion can be procured . One such exception of the law is pregnancy because of the criminal act of rape and incest To procure legal abortion on the basis of this particular ground, the mere statement by the women that she is a victim of rape or incest is adequate. [n practice, many women in Addis Ababa resort to legal abortion by mentioning th is except ion of the law simply to do away with unwanted pregnancies Thus, this research aims at examining and crit icall y anal yzing the abuse of abortion laws by many women's in Addis Ababa. Hence, the protections available for the life of the unborn child and its enfo rcements under the FDRE Constitution and ordinary legislations of the country wi ll be analyzed from the practice of legal abortion for rape and incest victims in Addis Ababa. Accordingly, the writer argues that both international human rights law and Ethiopian law provide some level of protection for the life of the unborn chi ld . There is also a duty on part of the government of Ethiopia to enforce such protections avai lab le for the life of the unborn child . But, the abuse of the law by several womens in Addis Ababa is violating the protections guaranteed for the life of the unborn child in Ethiopia. Therefore, the concerned authorities in Ethiopia have to take measures that will ensure compliance of the practice of abortion with the law and provide better protection for the li fe of the unborn chi ld in Ethiopia. Key Words: Ri ght to life; unborn child ; legal abortion; rape and incest victims; some level of protection



Right to life, unborn child, legal abortion, rape and incest victims, some level of protection