Abortion is largely prohibited in Morocco, as is pre-marital sex, which is illegal under the Criminal Code. Abortion is only allowed to save the life of the mother, with spousal consent. Illegality also means there are presently no official statistics on the number of illegal abortions performed in Morocco (OMS 2013). Presently, the Criminal Code does not allow abortion in cases of pregnancy even in the case of rape, incest, or mental illness. Many women take desperate measures and seek abortion in unsafe conditions, face prospects of abandoning children, or resort to infanticide (WHO 2012).
Besides maternal deaths, the high numbers of abandoned children and of single mothers are significant social issues resulting from unwanted pregnancies and restrictive legislation about abortion. The adolescent population (15–24 years), growing in number, are increasingly vulnerable to the negative effects of illegal abortions. Pregnancies and births continue to increase for adolescent girls. This research study was carried out by the Moroccan Family Planning Association (MFPA) in partnership with the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Malaysia, to generate evidence on the nature and consequences of unsafe abortions in Morocco and how religious fundamentalism (in the case of Islam) prevents adequate policies and practices for safe abortion services.