Sunday, December 30, 2007

Raped women must abort, says Sunni Islamic council

From today's Melbourne Herald-Sun:

Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, has said any woman pregnant by rape must abort the baby immediately to maintain "social stability".

"A raped woman must terminate the pregnancy immediately upon learning of the pregnancy if a trusted doctor gives her clearance for the abortion,'' the Islamic Research Council of the Cairo-based institution said.

This would ensure "social stability", it said.

The independent Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights said two women were raped every hour in this country of 76 million.

Many factors contributed to the increase in sexual harassment including rising unemployment, the huge cost of marriage and the fact that sex outside marriage was forbidden, experts said.

Egyptian law banned abortion except on the grounds of "necessity", which included instances when a woman's life or health was in danger or in cases of fetal abnormality.
Not exactly a "pro-choice" sentiment, is it?

Planned Parenthood's Web site offers a powerful response by the Rev. Peter Laarman, executive director, Progressive Christians Uniting, who says, "Unfortunately, today’s theocrats ... can’t seem to live with the idea of a religiously neutral public square."

Oops, hold on a sec — sorry about that, my mistake. On second glance, Laarman made his statement back in March, well before the Islamic Research Council's statement,and he actually said, "Unfortunately, today’s theocrats — and here I mean specifically the Christian Right — can’t seem to live with the idea of a religiously neutral public square" (emphasis mine).

But surely Planned Parenthood believes that there is a danger to choice from "theocrats" other than Christians? Surely, it will issue a swift response to the Islamic Research Council's statement, reminding its supporters that a forced "choice" for abortion is truly no choice?

I'm waiting ...