Target: Palestinian Minister of Health Dr. Jawad Awad, Leaders of the Palestinian Authority
Goal: Allow access to safe abortions for women in Palestine.
Women in Palestine are risking their health and their lives using unsafe abortion methods. A 2007 survey conducted by the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA) and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) discovered that roughly 40 percent of Palestinian women living in the West Bank had undergone an abortion, with 26 percent of those abortions being deemed unsafe. Numerous cases have been reported of women throwing themselves down sets of stairs, jumping from high walls or using sharp objects in order to abort children they don’t want or cannot support. In November of 2014, a woman died due to complications which arose after she asked her young son jump onto her pregnant belly, according to Palestinian physician Ali Shaar.
The combination of taboos surrounding birth control, a tendency towards men having the last word in discussions of contraception at home, the fear of honor killings for unwed mothers, and the fact that women can terminate their own pregnancies without punishment while abortion remains illegal under the Palestinian Authority, all contribute to exacerbate this problem. Women wishing to choose for themselves must get help from the PFPPA and undergo undocumented medical procedures to end the pregnancies, cross over into Israel to avail of the relatively inexpensive and safe surgical abortions offered through the Israeli healthcare system, or risk taking matters into their own hands.
The PFPPA and other groups have lobbied to change the law for women in the early stages of pregnancy, yet have been dismissed by the Ministry of Health, who claim that the underground operations carried out already handle the problem. Please sign the petition below and show the Palestinian Ministry of Health that there is an urgent need for publicly available resources to protect these women.
Dear Minister of Health Jawad Awad and Leaders of the Palestinian Authority,
Women in your country are putting themselves in harm’s way to terminate unwanted pregnancies. There are numerous reports of women throwing themselves from the tops of stairs, leaping from high walls, using sharp implements on themselves and various other barbaric methods. This is due to the legal barriers in place against terminating pregnancies in your country, while a blind eye is turned to women ending the pregnancies themselves in these unsafe ways.
The Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association and other groups have already lobbied the Palestinian Authority about this issue, citing the legality of early stage abortions in other Muslim nations such as Pakistan and Tunisia. Please don’t allow more needless deaths, like the death of the woman in Nablus who asked her young son to jump on her stomach to end the pregnancy, or the honor killings of unwed mothers.
Show the world that Palestine is thinking of the well-being of its women, and support the necessary policy changes to allow for the safe choices that they deserve as their human right.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: William Murphy