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Mozambique Set to Liberalise Abortion Law

Mozambique is set to end its blanket ban on abortion after the government acknowledged that current legislation was endangering the lives of women in one of Africa's most impoverished nations.

The proposed shake-up follows the release of a report by the health ministry which said around 100 pregnant women were dying every year after seeing backstreet abortionists while many more suffered "serious after-effects." Abortion was first outlawed in the former Portuguese colony in legislation dating back to 1886, a ban reaffirmed in a 1981 law six years after the southeastern African country gained independence.

However Justice Minister Esperanca Machavela has confirmed that a review is being drawn up and is likely to be presented to parliament after it reconvenes in October.

With the ruling Frelimo party enjoying a majority in parliament, government legislation can be expected to pass comfortably.

The announcement has sparked emotions -- in a country where Catholicism is the most widely followed religion, practiced by about a third of the population, but where women's groups are calling for change.

"You're asking me if I am for or against the decriminalisation of abortion? My response is yes -- a thousand times over," says Laurinda Chirindza whose 15-year-old daughter died last year.

"My daughter fell pregnant to someone who was barely older than her," said the tearful 43-year-old.

"When I discovered what had happened, I immediately decided that she should have an abortion.

I didn't want her to have the same life as me.

"I also fell pregnant when I was very young, when I was 14, and I had to abandon my studies." "My friends told me about a nurse who could do the procedure at her own home.

After agreeing on the price, 650 meticas (22 euros/30 dollars), we returned two days later." The teenager took the abortion drugs supplied by the nurse, but she soon began vomit
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