TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY ROD MAC JOHNSON AND JENNIFER O’MAHONY<br />(FILES) This file photo taken on January 28, 2008 shows Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma (L) and his wife Sia arriving for a meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street in London.<br />As the president of Sierra Leone equivocates over signing a bill to extend abortion provision in a country with sky-high maternal mortality rates, its powerful religious authorities believe the battle against it is already lost. Sierra Leone’s parliament passed a law in December allowing abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and in cases of rape and incest beyond that, replacing legislation from the early 19th century enabling terminations only if the mother’s life is in danger.<br />/ AFP / SHAUN CURRY
Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has again refused to sign a bill legalising abortion, saying it should be put to a referendum.
It was unanimously passed by legislators in December, but President Koroma refused to sign it after protests by religious leaders.
After consultations, the legislators returned the bill to him last month, unaltered, the BBC reports.