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Algerian draft bill authorizing abortion angers Islamists

13-11-2017

The new draft bill sanctioning abortion, in selected cases, which has been submitted by the Algerian ministry of health and discussed last week in the Parliament has instigated wide disagreement between supporters and opponents to it, especially Islamist parties who described some of its articles as unclear. The draft law includes a contested clause which permits the mother to resort to abortion if the medical diagnosis shows that the fetus suffers from a congenital disorder that disrupts its normal growth, or if the mother’s health is at risk because of pregnancy. The draft, according to the Parliamentary health committee, does not contradict the teachings of Islam regarding the life of the mother, however additionally, it will be codified so as not to be manipulated for illegal abortion activity by some. On the subject, and while the official institution deciding on the legitimacy of issues and which has not been asked about their viewpoint, has approved the content of the text, the head of the imams’ union, Jaloul Hjeimi, told Al Hayat newspaper that the doctor is not a faqih (jurist). “We represent the party which pronounces the irrefutable sharia perspective and we say what is legitimate and what is not,” he said, pointing out that abortion by virtue of said draft could become freely available. For his part, the imam of the Grand Mosque, member of the Scientific Council, Sheikh Ali Aya, conveyed in his address to the Parliamentary health committee the unanimous agreement by Islamic jurists on the “prohibition of fetal homicide after 120 days from his birth, except in the case in which continued pregnancy might lead to the death of the mother, as her life in this instance is absolutely necessary, provided this is supported with two medical reports that confirm that the survival of the fetus harms the mother and that her life is really at risk.” Similarly, Mansour Badawi, MP for the Islamist Justice and Development Front, disclosed work is underway to mobilize opposition against the abortion clause and the draft bill altogether. (Al Hayat, November 10, 2017)

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