“In Liberia, abortion is only legal when a licensed physician believes the pregnancy would substantially risk the mental or physical health of the mother. It is also legal if the unborn child has any serious mental or physical defects or if the pregnancy resulted from rape. However, very few women know this option is available to them. And if they did, a licensed practitioner who would be willing to carry out an abortion is almost impossible to find.”-Clara Mallah.i
Is abortion legal in Liberia?
Abortion is legal in Liberia if it is done to save the life of the woman; to preserve physical and/or mental health; in the case of rape or incest; and if there is fetal impairment. Abortion is not allowed for economic or social reasons or on request.ii
The Maputo Protocol states in A14 (1b) that women should have “the right to decide whether to have children, the number of children and the spacing of children” and in A14 (1c) “the right to choose any method of contraception”. However, in A14(2c) it says that State Parties should take all appropriate measures to “protect the reproductive rights of women by authorizing medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the fetus.” In this regard, Liberia’s legislation matches the Protocol, although it has many constraining procedures.
Two medical practitioners need to certify the circumstances that justify the abortion and then these certificates must be submitted to the hospital where the abortion will take place or to the Minister of Health if the abortion is taking place outside of a hospital. These steps are difficult to realize as medical practitioners may not be willing to sign the certificate due to religious reasons or the social stigma surrounding abortion. Medical practitioners may also hesitate if the circumstances are not sufficient as it could make them part of a criminal prosecution.iii
Failure to comply with the law attracts punitive penalties.iv
What are the different abortion services available in Liberia?
Liberia provides both medical as well as surgical abortion services. For medical abortion (MA), a combination of two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol is used. Surgical procedures that are available are Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
- Medical Abortion (MA)
- Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
Post abortion care is legal and available in public and private hospitals in Liberia.v
Who can perform abortions in Liberia?
In Liberia, only trained medical worker at a licensed government or private hospital can conduct a safe abortion.vi
Where can I go for abortion services in Liberia?
Safe and legal abortions in Liberia can be performed at registered
- Private clinics
- Large public hospitals
- Select NGOs
You can find safe abortion services in private clinics as undercover service. You can also find medical abortion available in clinics without restriction or medical prescription request. However they do not always provide proper instructions on eligibility, dosage and usage for a medical abortion. Please refer to the following page on our website for comprehensive instructions on how to use the pill: https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/howto/
What is the cost of a safe abortion in Liberia?
The price of abortion pills in Liberia will generally cost between $10 and $15 while under cover abortion services will cost around $50.00
Which abortion pills are available in Liberia?
There are two types of abortion pills available in Liberia
- Misoprostol only under brand names like Misofem, C-stol, and Misoclear
- Mifepristone and Misoprostol combination under brand names like MM Combi Kit and Mariprist
We have more information on misoprostol and mifepristone usage here.
Where can I buy abortion pills in Liberia?
In Liberia You need a prescription at the pharmacies, clinics, public and private health centres before you can purchase abortion pills.
What do the abortion pills look like in Liberia?
The most common brand name for abortion pills in Liberia is Misofem.
This is what the Misofem abortion pills looks like:
This is what the MM Combi Kit abortion pills look like:
This is what the C-Stol abortion pills looks like:
This is what the Mariprist abortion pills looks like:
Who can I contact for additional abortion information and support in Liberia?
- DKT sexual and reproductive health contact center: Call 5585 or WhatsApp at 088 114 0604
- Marie Stopes: Helpline: 3535 (Toll free with Orange)
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- i “Bleeding plenty’: Unsafe abortions kill Liberian Women”. New Narratives. https://www.newnarratives.org/stories/clara-mallahh/bleeding-plenty-in-liberia-unsafe-abortion-increase-maternal-mortality-rate/
- ii“Social Institutions and Gender Index: Liberia” OECD Development Centre. https://www.genderindex.org/wp-content/uploads/files/datasheets/2019/LR.pdf
- iii“Abortion Law Liberia” Women on Waves. https://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/5195/abortion-law-liberia
- iv Penal Law – Title 26 – Liberian Code of Laws Revised, http://www.icla.up.ac.za/images/un/use-of-force/africa/Liberia/Penal%20Code%20Liberia%201978.pdf
- v “Spoiling the Belly’: The Dangers of Backstreet Abortions in Liberia,” Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/liberia-backstreet-abortions_n_59021196e4b0af6d718c63b8
- vi “Reducing under-reporting of stigmatized health events using the List Experiment: results from a randomized, population-based study of abortion in Liberia.” International Journal of Epidemiology, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5156336/