Japan to approve abortion pill – but partner’s consent will be required

Delay in approving pill, and the possible $780 cost, reflect priorities of male-dominated parliament, say critics

The Guardian -- Jun 01
Women in Japan could be forced to seek their partner’s consent before being prescribed the abortion pill, which will reportedly be approved late this year – three decades after it was made available to women in the UK.

Under Japan’s 1948 Maternal Protection Law, consent is already required for surgical abortions – with very few exceptions – a policy that campaigners say tramples over women’s reproductive rights.

“In principle we believe that spousal consent is necessary, even if an abortion is induced by an oral medication,” Yasuhiro Hashimoto, a senior health ministry official, told a parliamentary committee earlier this month, according to Bloomberg.

Campaigners are calling on health authorities to ditch the rule requiring women to gain written consent from their partners before a doctor can prescribe a course of abortion drugs.

Kumi Tsukahara, a founding member of Action for Safe Abortion Japan, said: “‘Spousal consent’ becomes an issue is when there is a disagreement with the spouse or the spouse is forcing the woman to give birth against her will. ...continue reading

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