May 25, 2019
Saudi Arabia's Abortion Laws Are More Liberal Than Alabama's

America often prides itself on being a free country. It purports to value individual liberty and privacy, and yet, recent events have shown that some of its laws are more restrictive for women than the most extreme kingdoms in the Middle East and North Africa. According to Haaretz, Alabama's recently-passed highly restrictive anti-abortion bill is more draconian to women than the abortion laws enforced in Saudi Arabia, a country consistently chided in the international community for the treatment it metes out to its female population.

As reported earlier by The Inquisitr, Alabama's anti-abortion bill not only makes it illegal for women to have abortions, but even victims of rapes and incest are not spared. Moreover, a doctor performing an abortion in the state can be sentenced up to 99 years in prison. Compared to this, many of the abortion laws in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and North Africa are more liberal towards women.

In Saudi Arabia, a country which until recently didn't allow its female population to drive, abortions are allowed in cases where a woman's life is at risk and to protect her physical and mental health. Victims of sex crimes such as rape and incest can qualify for abortions under its Wahhabi Islamic law, often decried as one of the most oppressive legal codes in the world. While Saudi Arabia's laws towards women are more restrictive than even some of its neighboring countries, they are nonetheless more liberal than the Alabama anti-abortion bill. As Quartz reports, women wanting an abortion in Saudi Arabia have less fear than women hoping to terminate their pregnancies in the American state.

Not only Saudi Arabia's, but the abortion laws in other Middle Eastern Muslim countries including Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates are more liberal than the recent abortion bills passed in Alabama and Georgia. In other Muslim-majority nations like Turkey, abortion is legal and free during the first trimester, while countries like Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria also allow women to get abortions legally if they can show that not having it could be detrimental to their mental and physical health.

Leila Hessini, vice president of the Global Fund for Women, said the laws in Alabama and Georgia are more dangerous for women than the abortion laws in the Middle East.

"There is not the same level of fervor, violence, and attacks on women and providers as in the US—we're not seeing right now in the Middle East and North Africa a desire to make laws more punitive and more restrictive for women who need abortions and providers. We are seeing that in the US," she said.