Interview with the delegations of Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Poland
How do you claim to be pro-life by not allowing abortion in most circumstances, but at the same time allowing the death penalty? Is any of those choices motivated by religious beliefs?
(Saudi Arabia) Those are two completely different things. Both is unscripted in Islamic Law and both are professionally evaluated by Islamic Scholars, who tell us what The Prophet has to say about those issues, so you can’t measure them in western values, instead you have to dig deeper into the religion. Our scholars do not necessarily say that The Prophet encourages it, because of course we are not friends of using the death penalty, but in some hardship cases it has to be done and it is allowed by the law, Sharia Law.
(Bangladesh) We try to not put religious beliefs into our politics, but mostly religious beliefs have come to be the beliefs of the public and, in the end, traditions. We are pro-life, yes, and we do allow abortions when the life of a woman is in danger; furthermore, we have the death penalty for certain crimes, but we do not think that the death of a criminal and the life of a child can be the same.
Can you explain what you meant by saying that “talking about contraception burdens our men”?
(Saudi Arabia) The men living in our country are really burdened by so many things and we have a rapidly changing environment when it comes to women’s rights; we have lots of introductions of new laws, but this might be too much for them, especially if they’re older and are used to how things have been, so we cannot burden them any further.
Can you elaborate on how you plan to maintain and improve the wellbeing of women while also denying them the right to abortion?
(Poland) Poland’s main aim in our policy is to protect all of our citizens, which means women and children as well. We have to defend the right to life, which is where every other right comes out of. We put the life of the child in first place, when obviously the life and health of the mother is not harmed. Our law does not permit abortion only when a woman’s life is not at risk. Obviously, we also care about women’s independency, but that comes later on. This means that after ensuring life for all our citizens, we also care about women’s rights, which means that we want to implement financial plans to give women the chance to be independent and to find their way in the workplace; we also want to implement policies that help and allow women to have guaranteed access to healthcare for pregnancy monitoring.
Are you aware that illegal abortions are happening in your respective countries, mostly in unsanitary conditions, leading to both the law being broken and the health of women being endangered? How do you plan to prevent that?
(Poland) That’s exactly what we want to address by means of financial plans, which give women the opportunity to go to hospitals and have access to healthcare, as well as financial support to families, which guarantees the fundamental rights of having a family and living a decent life, both for the children and the parents. We also give women the chance to afford babysitting, which means that they will be able to go to work and not experience motherhood as a burden.
(Saudi Arabia) We are not aware that those things happen in Saudi Arabia, but in case they are happening, we plan on putting much more effort into education, for example on the fact that irregular abortions are very dangerous and they should not be performed, because our law includes the option to have an abortion; the mental burden on women when they do not have an abortion is too high, but we think education is the best way to fight this problem.
(Bangladesh) We also believe that education is a very important measure that needs to be taken. We are aware that many illegal abortions are taking place in Bangladesh, so we want to further educate the population. We also provide options for child care and we believe that we are taking many measure to decrease that number.
Are your views on abortion open to change anytime?
(Bangladesh, Poland, Saudi Arabia) No.