NABEELA, Pakistan

“If a woman is unmarried and pregnant her only fate is honor killing” 

Nabeela a 20-year-old woman of Lahore got pregnant while she was unmarried. She came to know about her pregnancy when her beloved had already left for another country, and she was left alone to face the turmoil of pregnancy in a culture where, if a woman is unmarried and pregnant her only fate is honor killing. Through internet, she came to know about the Sahailee Hotline of Aware Girls. She contacted them and said that if she is not helped she would commit suicide before her family came to know about the pregnancy. Aware Girls provided her counseling and information but then the issue for her was the inability to access the medicine Misoprostol as her mobility was restricted and she couldn’t rely on any male relative for bringing the medicine to her.

Since it would simply mean her secret would come out. She was depressed and her only thought was to kill herself if she couldn’t get the medicine. Through a supporter of the Hotline in Rawalpindi City, the Hotline delivered the medicine to her home and she was able to safely use her right to safe abortion. A few days later she called back to the Hotline and was happy that her abortion was successful, saying “The Hotline has given me a new life, a life which I own by myself.”

In Pakistan abortion is illegal except in the following cases: Before formation of the organs, abortions are permitted to save the woman’s life or in order to provide “necessary treatment.” After organs are formed, abortions are permitted only to save the woman’s life. (Guttmacher Institute, “Abortion in Pakistan” http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/IB_Abortion-in-Pakistan.pdf)

ACTIVISTS’ REFLECTIONS

AWARE Girls

Aware Girls, in partnership with Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and Women on Waves, is running the Sahailee Safe Abortion Hotline, which aims to make safe abortion accessible to young women. Through the Hotline, we are reaching thousands of women each year who don’t have access to health care, or have limited control over their own bodies. Through the Hotline, women are moving a step forward towards their Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and are gaining bodily autonomy.

DEMAND ACCESS TO SAFE AND LEGAL ABORTION NOW!

(Image: http://www.peacexpeace.org/2012/06/muslim-feminists-on-the-internet/)