The Politicization of Abortion and Hippocratic Disobedience in Islamist Sudan.

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    • Abstract:
      In Sudan's Islamist state, abortion is politicized through its association with illegal pregnancy. Fornication is a crime against God punishable with 100 lashes, and pregnancy outside a marriage contract constitutes sufficient evidence of a woman's immorality. This enables a strong link between the crime of fornication and the crime of illegal abortion, to the extent that our interviewees often conflate the two in the term "illegal pregnancy." While abortion does not appear in the domestic political debate on women's reproductive and maternal health and is not on the agenda of the national women's movement, it has become politicized in the implementation of the law. A number of bureaucratic barriers, in addition to a strong police presence outside maternity wards in public hospitals, make it difficult for unmarried women to access emergency care after complications of an illegal abortion. These women put themselves at risk of arrest for fornication and illegal abortion. However, many doctors, honoring the Hippocratic oath, disobey state policy and refrain from reporting such crimes to the police to protect unmarried and vulnerable women from prosecution. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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