Family code reform revives discourse around marriage medical certificates, doctors’ negligence

Family code reform revives discourse around marriage medical certificates, doctors’ negligence

As a specialized Moroccan judicial body oversees the highly anticipated family code reform, field experts and activists continue to point out the myriad of concern and “contradictions” plaguing the current legislation.

Among the concerns is regarding the ineffectiveness of medical certificates, which are part and parcel of the marriage documentation process.

Family Code in Morocco makes it mandatory for couples-to-be-married to provide a medical certificate to ensure they are free from any contagious diseases, based on Article 65.

However, the issue lies in that medical certificates, most of the time, are issued as mere formalities and do not serve the intended purpose.

That is, doctors conduct only visual examinations without subjecting the couple to actual tests and analyses.

Commenting on this issue, Fatiha Remma, responsible for the Najma Center for the Democratic Association of Morocco’s Women, confirmed to MoroccoLatestNews that the medical certificate is indeed just a formality and couples do not undertake the required tests and analyses that may prevent them from contracting infectious diseases from their partners.

“The real problem is that in their marriage contract, you would find that the couples “submitted a medical certificate confirms that they are free from infectious diseases.” While in reality, spouses do not undertake medical tests. The doctors just conduct visual examination, which may result in the detection of contagious diseases such as AIDS later on,” explained Remma to MoroccoLatestNews.

While the stated aim of the medical certificate is clear and in favor of the engaged couple, the document seems to be just a procedure that takes doctors a few minutes.

Remma held doctors responsible for taking the matter lightly. “Doctors bear responsibility for this matter, and they must fulfill their role to the fullest. Issuing a medical certificate based on visual examination is considered negligence on the part of the doctor,” she emphasized.

However, another problem arises when it comes to the cost of these tests and analyses required for obtaining a proper medical certificate. The issue is that couples sometimes cannot afford or bear tests’ burden in terms of expenses.

For this reason, Remma said, “The Ministry of Health should establish a department dedicated to this purpose.”

Another point that the member of Najma Center referred to is the dire need to include psychological tests as well, exactly as some professions require before integrating into certain establishments.

“The psychological tests are of paramount importance. Many people discover after tying the knot that their partner is mentally ill and not ready at all to be part of this institution,” underscored Remma.

Regarding the kind of contradiction in Marriage regulations in Morocco, Women, by law, are allowed to be judges and Aadul –the right to be notaries of marriage contracts—yet they cannot be witnesses during marriage ceremonies.

The member of the Najma center questioned, “If a woman becomes a judge, why isn’t she allowed to be a witness in the marriage contract?” knowing that the legal text does not specify the gender of the witness.

The legislation only stipulates that “The agent must be an adult,” however the Maliki jurisprudence prohibits an adult girl from authorizing her sister and mother to conclude a marriage contract.

Some argue “When a woman is allowed to be a judge, she is practicing her profession,” explained Remma the opposite viewpoint.

She said since women are allowed to exercise such profession, they must be allowed to be witnesses in marriage ceremonies as well.

In this regard, Abdelsalam Ait vehemently said, a university professor, said “Either we embrace the openness to modernity that is not contradictory to Islamic principles and references, which requires effort, or we market and advertise that we are not in conflict with international agreements while remaining silent about other matters. This is not permissible, and it is necessary to alleviate this discomfort by stating explicitly,” according to MoroccoLatestNews.

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