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Armenia Considers Ban on Gender-Specific Abortions

A woman rests with her newborn child at the maternity ward of a hospital in Abovyan, about 16 kilometers northeast of the capital Yerevan. Armenia, which has one of the highest discrepancies globally of boy births versus girl births, plans to pass a new law to control sex-selective abortions. (Photo: Anahit Hayrapetyan)

After years of experiencing a population decline, Armenia is proposing a ban on gender-selective abortions that favor boys. The measure, if adopted by parliament, would be the first such measure in the relatively conservative, male-centric South Caucasus.
 
Submitted to parliament on July 2, the bill, drafted by the Ministry of Health, explicitly bans all sex-selective abortions and, in a bid to close any loopholes, specifically prevents abortions without a doctor’s consent between the 12th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy. It is during that time of gestation that a child’s sex manifests itself.
 
Women who want an abortion during this period would have to apply in writing to a hospital and wait for three days. During that period, “psychologists and specialists will work with the woman” to help her understand the consequences of her choice, said Gayane Avagian, head of the Ministry of Health’s Maternity and Reproductive Health Division.
 
Doctors who violate the law would face potential fines of 70 to 100 times the minimum monthly salary of 55,000 drams ($115.10).
 

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia Considers Ban on Gender-Specific Abortions

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