Saturday, April 17, 2010

Reproduction Rights in Iraq

We will now examine the reproductive rights of women of Iraq. Before looking at the reproductive rights we should first understand women’s rights in general in this country. Women in Middle Eastern countries have more restrictions against them than women in many other parts of the world. The government’s laws are forbidden to go against the established rulings of Islam. Because the government and laws are constructed around the Islamic religion they tend to be very strict for women. Women have less freedom than men in Iraq which negatively impacts women's legal status in the labor code, criminal justice system, personal status, and mobility. Along with fewer freedoms, Iraqi women have limited access to priority reproductive health services.
In Iraq abortion is illegal and considered taboo. Because of this law people have been forced to practice “home abortions” or seek help from illegal abortionist. This is a very dangerous procedure when it is not done professionally. Many women are using these abortions to escape death by an honor killing.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation advocates reproductive rights and health all over the world. In Iraq this organization is hoping to:
-- create a favorable climate for family planning
-- improve quality of care for safe motherhood and child health
-- provide family planning education for women
-- provide infertility treatment
Family planning and contraception is a key point when discussing reproductive rights. In Iraq a national policy regarding access to contraception has been assured since 1993. Although contraception in Iraq is available, the rates in which women use the contraception are not very high. The contraceptive rate was only 32% in 2000. Being a country that is currently a war zone it is difficult to keep up the funds and research regarding family planning.

Reflection Questions:

Do you think it is right to go against the Iraqi culture to grant more reproductive rights for women?

Do you think legalizing abortion in Iraq would make a change in the role or status of women?


Posted by: Kayla Guelli

Group: Justi, Alicia, Rory, Kayla, and Bri


  1. Living in Iraq as a woman must be a very difficult task on its own. As you and other research have informed me that women who are part of the Islamic culture hardly have any rights at all, nevermind reproductive rights, and to me that is so very sad. I would say yes to go against Iraqui culture to grant more reproductive rights to women, however, that is impossible because if someone believes so strongly in their culture, they would find it offensive nevertheless if someone went against their culture to grant them rights. although rigts would be very helpful, I feel that the women would rather not have them if they go against their culture because teir culture is who they are and what they know and I know if someone went against my culture to do anything, I wouldn't like it.
    Regarding the abortion issue changing the role and status of women, I feel that it's highly unlikely. It is built in Islamic culture that women aren't nearly s equal as men and I believe it will remain that way regardless of the legalization of abortion in Iraq.

    --Charda Davis

  2. It was very interesting to read about the rights in Iraq as compared to America. Although America does have a way to go by people view points of the reproductive rights being more of a responsibility for the women as opposed to a man it is nothing like it is in Iraq. The lack of women’s reproductive rights in Iraq stems from the macro problem of a culture that puts women down and treats them like second class citizens. It is very easy for me to say that the whole system should be abolished. Though reading more about how this culture stems from the government being very based on religion makes it a lot more difficult to say that especially since it is a religion that I do not follow and have little understanding of, though I do understand how important religion is to people. I believe that women’s status would be very different in Iraq if abortion was legalized, though I believe that legalizing abortion in Iraq is something very off because the first step to legalizing abortion is going to be to find out some way for women to receive better treatment in the country and have more respect.

    -Laura Hickey

  3. Women's roles and family perceptions within varying societies worldwide have long been an area of interest for me. I recently read the book Women in Iraq: The Gender Impact of International Sanctions, which discusses many of the topics you have addressed throughout the course of the week. As the effects of male dominated and cultural biases promote similar forms of woman centered violence and other issues throughout many societies throughout the world. However, in response to the question posed regarding the ethicality of international intervention on behalf of reproductive rights. While I agree and believe in reproductive freedoms and availability I don't support International intervention especially in a society such as that in Iraq presently. The ramifications of actions taken on behalf of women from an international arena would in my perception be highly detrimental and come with too great a risk for the perceived benefits.