“No Uterus, no Opinion”.
Recently, in the United States of America, the landmark Roe v. Wade was over turned and the ruling established the constitutional right to abortion. Since 1973, the USA had permitted abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Today, almost half the states in America are to outlaw and put extreme restrictions on abortion due to the result of the Supreme Court’s decision on a Mississippi case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The SC’s decision was 5-4.
That is America; this is Pakistan. Do we know our options as Pakistani women? Do we have access to getting an abortion? What is Islam’s stance? What is the stand of the government of Pakistan? What does it mean for an ordinary woman and what does it mean for women who were raped? Does a Pakistani woman even have autonomy over her body?
According to Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), Chapter XVI, Section 338(A)-(C)
“Whoever, causes woman with child whose organs have not been formed, to miscarry, if such miscarriage is not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman, or providing necessary treatment to her, is said to cause isqat-i-haml“— 338. Isqat-i-Hamal.
“Whoever, cause isqat-i-haml shall be liable to punishment as ta’zir-“— 338-A. Punishment for Isqat-i-haml.
- with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, if isqat-i-haml is caused with the consent of the woman, or
- with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, if isqat-i-haml is caused without the consent of the woman.
Provided that, if as a result of isqat-i-haml, any hurt is caused to woman or she dies, the convict shall also be liable to the punishment provided for such hurt or death as the case may be.
“Whoever, causes a woman with child some of whose limbs or organs have been formed to miscarry, if such miscarriage is not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman, is said to cause Isqat-i-janin.“— 338-B. Isqat-i-janin.
338-C. Punishment for Isqat-i-janin. − “Whoever, causes isqat-i-ianin shall be liable to,
- one-twentieth of the diyat if the child is born dead,
- full diyat if the child is born alive but dies as a result of any act of the offender, and
- imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years as ta’zir−
Provided that, if there are more than one child in the womb of the woman, the offender shall be liable to separate diyat or ta’zir, as the case may be for every such child.−
Provided further that if, as a result of isqat-i-fanin, any hurt is caused to the woman or she dies, the offender shall also be liable to the punishment provided for such hurt or death, as the case may be.”
To cut it short, abortion under the correct circumstances is allowed not only in Islam but also under the laws that rule the people of Pakistan. Should the woman’s life be under grave threat, or to provide necessary treatment nevertheless a taboo exists around the action. There are limited safe spaces where woman can obtain their right to abort, but unlimited and unsafe ways.
The personal bias of getting an abortion must be removed, as there could be a million reasons why a woman may need to get an abortion, but those reasons are not OUR concern.
As citizens of Pakistan, woman who choose to abort their pregnancy have the fundamental right to do so. They have the right to not disclose the reason to why they might need one especially to a third party. The choice to abortion should be with the doctors, nurses, and midwives. It is every woman’s right to have accessibility to obtain a safe abortion and post abortion care.
“No Uterus, no Opinion”.