Is Abortion Legal In Dubai? What You Need to Know About the Law

Dubai may be a modern, cosmopolitan, and progressive country; however, specific rules are not as liberally followed as the rest of the world because it is a Muslim country and follows Shariah law.

One such aspect concerns abortion. Have you ever wondered if abortion is legal in Dubai?

Abortion is illegal and considered a crime in Dubai. Anyone who participates in any act of abortion will be charged guilty of a crime and can face fines and jail time.

Specific scenarios like a fatal danger to the mum or baby qualify for abortion if done before 120 days of pregnancy.

Islamic rulings have specific regulations around abortion. In UAE, a Muslim country, this is taken very seriously; therefore, even a progressive city like Dubai restricts it. You can get clarity and understanding about this further in the article.

Can You Have An Abortion In Dubai?

Abortion is a crime in Dubai and the entire UAE. It is forbidden, or rather, it is restricted (discussed later).

Unless you qualify for an abortion by the medical panel in Dubai according to the regulations under which abortion is allowed, you cannot have an abortion.

If you try or even succeed at illegal and unsafe abortions in Dubai and are caught, it will be regarded as a criminal offense, and you can face jail time, fines, or deportation.

It is a strict rule and is taken seriously. Not only is a woman not allowed to have an abortion, but anyone who assists or is involved in the process – like selling illegal pills or medically helping – will also be guilty of a crime.

Why Is Abortion Illegal In Dubai?

Many people find it difficult to understand how such a progressive and modernized city cannot stand liberally for abortion. There is, however, a profound explanation for the ruling, which is:

Dubai follows the Islamic rule of the UAE as a whole. The UAE follows the Islamic shariah law. According to that law, abortion is considered taking life and is forbidden.

Muslims are taught and believe that the soul is breathed into a fetus within 120 days. Scholars have different opinions, and some believe it is by 40 days.

The rule of 120 days is the consensus, and the UAE uses Islamic law for abortion under specific circumstances, which we discuss later.

Once the 120 days of pregnancy have passed, abortion is entirely forbidden and considered the killing of a soul-bearing unborn human being.

Consequences Of Abortions In Dubai

A person’s choice of keeping or aborting a baby is personal.

Whether that reason is a mental and emotional inability, financial strain, lack of support, health concerns, or unplanned pregnancy, considering abortion when you are in Dubai is a major challenge.

While one option is to leave the country and have an abortion done elsewhere legally, not everyone has the privilege or financial ability to make that happen.

When that happens, you have to choose to keep the baby or abort it illegally in Dubai.

There are legal and health consequences to performing illegal abortions. Illegal abortions are unsafe because they are not done in monitored and supported facilities.

Abortion pills can pose health risks if not used under proper medical supervision. In Dubai, women who abort and those involved in the process will face legal consequences.

These are the health risks of unsafe abortions:

  • Reproductive tract infections
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Infertility
  • Physical and emotional trauma and more

Here are the legal consequences of illegal abortions in Dubai:

  • A person who aborts a women’s pregnancy by her consent will face a maximum of five years in prison.
  • A person who aborts a women’s pregnancy without her consent will face a maximum of 7 years in prison.
  • A woman who aborts her pregnancy in Dubai can face jail time. Expatriates can be deported and not prohibited from reentering the UAE again.

Circumstances That Allow Abortion In Dubai

Abortion is not entirely forbidden in Dubai. Certain circumstances allow abortion if it abides by the Islamic law of the country.

Here are the scenarios under which abortion is legal in Dubai:

  • The mother’s life is in danger, and she is facing death.
  • If the fetus cannot survive after birth because of fatal deformities.

Albeit these two circumstances, abortion is only allowed if it is done before the fetus is 120 days old. That is around a week into the second trimester or 17 weeks of the pregnancy.

The abortion must also be approved by a medical panel and done under proper medical and supervised conditions after analysis and conclusion that there is no option to save the mother or baby.

Alternative Options For Abortion In Dubai

If you are a resident and considering an abortion that does not qualify with the regulations of the UAE abortion law, here are some alternative options:

  • Leave the country to perform the abortion elsewhere where it is legally allowed, and you can do it under safe and proper medical supervision and care. You can keep your affairs private when performing abortions out of the UAE.
  • Keep the baby if you find that is the right decision. Sometimes pregnancies are unplanned and happen anyway. If everything works out, you can still decide to keep the pregnancy and have the baby.
  • Keep the pregnancy and apply to give the baby up for adoption. This is not mentioned lightly, but instead an option for those who can manage the pregnancy but genuinely cannot manage a lifestyle with kids or confidently choose not to have kids or more kids.

Pregnancy before wedlock is still a shaky subject in the UAE. The laws have recently changed, but there is no solid clarity on how the situation works.

This still causes fear for many, with the uncertainty of what will happen if authorities find out about the pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and unmarried, you can decide to get married to ease the situation. If you do not have a partner or cannot marry, you may have to return to your home country or another for the duration of the pregnancy and birth.

Before taking drastic action, consult a lawyer and thoroughly research the laws and regulations regarding pregnancy and abortion in Dubai because rules are often adapted as time passes.


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