Japan Approves Use of Abortion Pills but Requires Consent of Partner

Japanese government officials said a bill legalizing medication abortion was scheduled for approval late this year.  

According to the news agency the Guardian, Japanese women can now opt to use abortion pills for unwanted pregnancy but first, need to seek the required partner’s consent before receiving a prescription for the abortion pill. 

“In principle, we believe that spousal consent is necessary, even if an abortion is induced by an oral medication,” senior health ministry official Yasuhiro Hashimoto said.  

Japan’s 1948 Maternal Protection Law Japan requires a partner’s consent for surgical abortions, which campaigners for safe abortion said violates women’s reproductive rights.  

However, MP Mizuho Fukushima criticized the abortion pill law saying it dehumanizes pregnant people. 

“Women are not the property of men. Their rights, not those of the man, should be protected. Why should a woman need her partner’s approval? It’s her body,” Fukushima said. 

Founding member of Action for Safe Abortion Japan Kumi Tsukahara said that forcing women into pregnancy is a form of torture and violence. 

“‘Spousal consent’ becomes an issue when there is a disagreement with the spouse or the spouse is forcing the woman to give birth against her will,” Tsukahara said. 

Local media reported that the cost of a single dose of the abortion pill could be around $780 and requires strict medical supervision, and risks hospitalization. 

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