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Abortion in the Middle East

When international abortion comes to mind, you think of a woman in any American or European city making an appointment at a clinic and getting an abortion. You may recall the recent struggles over abortion in Catholic Ireland or the one-child policy in China. Most of the time, even for me, the Middle East does not come to mind as a hotbed of abortion activity. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

The modernization of the Arab culture has been on an upswing for several years. The number of early marriages has dropped to less than half of what it was just three decades ago. Because of this, the majority of youths in the Middle East have taken part in premarital sexual activity, resulting in many unintended pregnancies.

Although abortion is still outlawed in many areas – and harshly condemned according to Islamic law - doctors and young women are open to dialogue about the procedure. Because Islam is still the main religion in the region, premarital pregnancy is very much looked down upon and something to be eliminated. Therefore, abortion no longer holds such a harsh stigma in the youth culture – it’s a convenient double standard.

Because public opinion in the Middle East is more tolerant of abortion, married women are considering abortion as a coping strategy to control the number of children in large families. Many of these women obtain abortions once they have the number of children they desire. Husbands and family members often support and encourage this decision, and the local clerics ignore that it’s happening.

What is the world coming to when one of the world’s most famously restrictive cultures turn their head and allow abortion? What do you thing of this? Write in and sound off.

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