Abortion Laws in Liberia
Is abortion legal in Liberia?
Abortion is permitted 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.
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.
What are the different abortion services available in Liberia?
- Medical Abortion (MA)
- Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
Who can perform abortions in Liberia?
Any trained medical worker at a licensed government or private hospital can conduct a safe abortion.
Where can I go for abortion services in Liberia?
- 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.
What is the cost of a safe abortion in Liberia?
- Undercover services cost around $50.00
- Medical abortion pills cost between $10 - $15
What are the legal and safe drugs available in Liberia?
- Misoprostol: C-stol, Misoclear and Miso-fem.
- Mifepristone and Misoprostol combination: Mariprist and Misomife-fem.
Can I buy abortion pills at a pharmacy in Liberia?
Abortion pills can be bought at the pharmacy without restrictions.
What do abortion pills look like in Liberia?
Below are photos of common abortion pill brands that are available in Liberia.
Who can I contact for additional information and support in Liberia?
- Marie Stopes: Helpline: 3535 (Toll free with Orange)
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- 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
- “‘Spoiling The Belly’: The Dangers Of Backstreet Abortions In Liberia,” Huffington Post, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/liberia-backstreet-abortions_n_59021196e4b0af6d718c63b8?guccounter=1
- “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/