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.