The reading focused on abortion policies and practices in the Middle East and North Africa and their effect on women’s lives and health. Most of the countries in this region of the world impose legal restrictions of women’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy while at the same time provide little or no education and access to modern methods of contraception. Presenting readers with bothering statistics of how many women from these countries are seeking abortion despite the restrictions and how many of them suffer from complications of not having the properly administered procedure, the author attempts to offer western countries a lesson of what might start to happen if abortion is outlawed.
The present chapter disturbs the reader with large numbers of women who had to look for illegal ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies and consequently risk their lives. With advances in modern medicine, abortion is safer than ever if performed under medical supervision and in proper sanitary settings. Yet, the number of women in the Middle East and North Africa who die or suffer the consequences of unsafe abortion is strikingly high. Furthermore, lacking knowledge and access to modern methods of contraception increases the risk of unwanted pregnancies compared to the developed countries. The chapter suggests that restrictive laws, fueled by traditionalist worldview that does not approve of pragmatic family planning, constitute the main reason of such a troubling state of affairs. Reading through, it becomes clear that Islamic supremacy over the secular approaches to politics and governance practiced in this region may be to blame for the risks women are exposed to.
Drawing conclusions, the disturbing statistics and discussion presented in the article serves not only the informative purpose, but offers readers a lesson of what restrictive abortion laws may lead to. There are evidence throughout history of always existing demand for the ability to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and outlawing abortion does not diminish this need. At the same time, keeping this procedure lawful minimizes the risk for women’s lives and health by allowing for it to be performed by skilled professionals in proper sanitary settings.