Samoa Health clarifies stance on abortion and gay marriage

Samoa's Ministry of Health says the media have misunderstood its recommendations surrounding abortion.

Over the past week media reports have said the Ministry was urging the Government to legalise abortion and gay marriage.

RNZI reports this prompted public outrage and a statement from Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi that he would never allow what he calls "heathenistic practices".

However, the Director of Health Leausa Toleafoa Dr Take Naseri says the media has misquoted and taken out of context the national policy paper.

Leausa says the ministry did not advocate making abortion legal, as it is illegal and the ministry is compliant to the law.

He says the policy merely underlines that current law states abortion is only legal for women who are victims of rape, incest and or those with sexually transmitted infections or HIV.

It also refers to mothers whose health could be threatened by giving birth.

As for gay marriage, Leausa says marital practices do not fall under the legal charge of the ministry so it would never make any recommendations on such a matter.



Photo by MPMC. Caption: Director General of Health, Leausa Toleafoa Dr Take Naseri