Monaco will decriminalize abortion, but not legalize it



Monaco said on Monday it would move in the coming months to stop making abortion a crime for women, but not legalize it because doctors would still be denied the procedure.

Women will have to seek abortion outside the principality, where Roman Catholicism has long been the official religion, the government said in a statement.

Currently, abortion is only allowed in cases of rape, when the mother's health is at risk, or if the fetus has irreversible health defects.

Women who have abortions in other cases may face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 18,000 euros ($20,150).

Under the proposed new law, women can perform the procedure before the end of the 12th week of pregnancy - as long as it is done outside the principality.

Doctors in Monaco will continue to face up to 10 years in prison for abortion, although they will now be allowed to help patients find practitioners outside the enchanting French Riviera enclave.

The government stated: "This law provides for an appropriate response to the distress of a pregnant woman, who will no longer face punishment but will be listened to and assisted. It will also preserve the fundamental value of an unborn child's right to life and the principles of the state religion."

A National Council vote was expected in the coming months, a spokesman told AFP.