Abortions and the Middle East

Abortion has always been a prohibited discussion in public school. Anytime we had to report on current issues, teachers always pushed that abortion was “too controversial” and “already been done too many times before”. Ironically, I can’t think of a single time when abortion was an open discussion within the classroom. Even when it wasn’t instructed that we avoid the topic, the stigma attached to it caused my classmates and I to divert from it anyways.

I have decided that I believe women should have access to a safe and legal abortion, simply because I believe in the right for anyone to do what they wish with their own body without political involvement. With that being said, I also respect those who feel differently, and have an open mind about listening to other’s beliefs and opinions.

I know that such a big decision is very circumstantial, which adds to its complexity, and has made an agreeable solution to the controversy impossible. Throughout history, the US has conformed to labels, of pro-life or pro-choice, but many are encouraging the omission of these labels because of their limitations. They bring stereotypes to a situation that is not so black and white.

According to Planned Parenthood, in the United States, abortion is legal before the second trimester, which begins approximately 11-12 weeks after conception. Still, many women who choose to have an abortion face discrimination, violence, and extensive court battles. The disagreement over abortion continues, with protesters who believe it is murder and against our human moral obligations. Existing organizations, including churches and religious groups, continue to fight for stricter anti-abortion laws to take effect. Women and physicians fear violent outbreaks surrounding abortion clinics and the verbal abuse of protestors.

This made me wonder how a controversy, with such passionate and opposing opinions in the United States, was perceived in the Middle East.

The Qu’ran states that Islam values the human life, but does not mention abortions explicitly.  Arguments in the U.S. to determine whether a fetus is considered a human,  do not persist amongst most Muslims who consider a fetus as a life.  Therefore, abortions are illegal throughout most of the Middle East, but certain circumstances, such as life threatening complications to the life of the mother, may provide leniency of the law.

Throughout most of my research, I discovered that many Muslims in the Middle East, unlike Americans, are in general consensus with abortion regulations. Tunisia is one of the only Middle Eastern countries that allows abortions with the consent of a physician. But even then, doctors can refuse to perform abortions, and instead women resort to illegal and dangerous medical procedures.

According to Iman Ahmed, a Muslim who chose to have an abortion, the struggle concerning her decision was internal.  Her story  details her path to choosing abortion and compares her ultimate decision with her beliefs influenced by the Islamic faith.

Although abortion protests are slim in the Middle East, the feminist movement is on the rise. And with feminism comes a new perspective towards female choice. I believe as women in the Middle East gain more rights, the controversy over abortion laws will significantly increase.









5 thoughts on “Abortions and the Middle East

  1. I never thought a women was allowed to get an abortion in the middle east unless it was absolutely life threatening and not if she was raped. Does her husband or parents have the choice to deny her from having an abortion or is it truly her choice, and the doctors of course?

  2. There has been a huge push for women’s rights in the Middle East over the past few years. Few women have made it into parliament since they were granted the right in 1952, but just recently after a campaign called “Women in Municipal,” run by an organization called Women in Front, took women from all over Lebanon and trained them in many different areas of leadership in order to prepare them for the upcoming elections. In the 2016 municipal elections in Lebanon, over thirty women will be on the ballet for various positions; this is a huge mile stone for gender equality with in the Middle East. Once more women enter into governmental rolls I believe there is going to be a lot of change in all areas of concern, especially that of abortion.

  3. I think in America women definitely have more say if they want to have an abortion or not. If I lived in the Middle East, I wouldn’t want laws to tell me it is illegal to have an abortion. I honestly think that women in the Middle East should have more say in what they do with their bodies.

  4. It is always interesting to see how sharply controversial topics such as Abortion are handled in vastly different cultures such as in America and the Middle East. It will be interesting to see how this topic develops as certain countries continue to westernize and as Middle Eastern women gain more power and recognition.

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