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Azerbaijan: Draft Law Sparks Debate on Selective Abortions of Female Fetuses

A provision in a draft law that would be Azerbaijan's first comprehensive piece of reproductive rights legislation has sparked a debate about the need for a ban on fetal gender information to stop the practice of selective abortions of female fetuses.

The bill, titled Law on Reproductive Health and Family Planning, explicitly protects a woman's "right of reproductive choice" and includes provisions that aim to make it easier for women to obtain information about reproductive health and planning.

It does not ban doctors from releasing information about the gender of fetuses or from performing selective abortions, a practice that is currently legal.

A measure that prohibits couples from requesting a male or female embryo during in vitro fertilization, however, has been cast as a move toward such a ban. The measure is part of proposed regulations on infertility clinics and restrictions on artificial insemination and sperm donation.

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Jessica Powley Hayden is a freelance reporter based in Baku.

Azerbaijan: Draft Law Sparks Debate on Selective Abortions of Female Fetuses

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