Alabama abortion law has uncanny resemblance to Bangladesh's

Alabama abortion law has uncanny resemblance to Bangladesh's
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In recent days, American women are up in arms over the abortion laws in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri. The abortion law in Alabama is especially disturbing because it does not even grant a 14-year-girl who was raped and got pregnant the right to get an abortion. Anyone who helps a rape victim to get an abortion under the Alabama law is a felon.

At times like this, when such horrendous laws are being proposed, it is of critical importance to recall that the Alabama law that will go into effect is six months is very similar to Bangladesh’s, a non-democratic third world country that I am sure most Americans don’t want to model themselves after.

According to Bangladeshi law, abortion is only permitted to save the life of the mother, and anyone who helps a pregnant woman to have an abortion for any other reason, including rape, faces three to five years imprisonment as well as a fine. The only difference between the Bangladeshi law and the Alabama law is that in Bangladesh, the pregnant woman who seeks an abortion can also face charges, while this is not the case with the Alabama law.

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Nevertheless, both laws share the notion that a woman who becomes pregnant due to rape should not be given the right to get an abortion, and anyone who assists such women who seek an abortion belong behind bars.

The Bangladeshi law is very damaging to women’s rights, especially given the high rate of rape within the country. According to a recent petition that was created by Muslims Facing Tomorrow, “Bangladesh has emerged as a safe haven for rapists in epidemic proportions. The numbers of rape cases have exploded like wildfire. Not a day passes where someone is not raped, gang-raped or murdered after rape or gang rape.

The victims include babies and older women. Rapists come from all levels of the society, including from madrassas and educational institutions. The whole nation exploded with rage against this horror, but hardly any rapists have been punished. Often, the victim is from a poor family that submits to the threat of the powerful and/or politically connected rapists to keep silent or withdraw the case. This is the same of the nation, law enforcement agencies and the government.”

In recent days, a nurse who worked in a Dhaka hospital was raped and murdered. Afterwards, her body was thrown off a bus. This incident occurred weeks after a 19-year-old student had kerosene thrown on her and was set on fire after she reported the fact that a madrassa principal attempted to rape her.

She succumbed to her wounds. In recent days, according to the World Hindu Struggle Committee, it was revealed that the murderers were paid to kill her so that she would not proceed with the attempted rape allegations against the madrassa principal. They claim that all of the murderers were reportedly relatives of the principle and involved in local Awami League politics. And not too long before that, a 10-year-old girl was strangled to death in Bangladesh for resisting being raped by her private tutor.

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These incidents are not isolated occurrences. Within the last four months, Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) reported a 20 percent increase in the rape of children within the country since last year.

Shipan Kumer Basu, the president of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, reported: “Madrassa teachers are constantly raping girl children. Many of them are murdered after being raped. But sadly, there is no justice. The local Awami League leaders harass, intimidate and murder anyone seeking justice. Bangladesh has become a sanctuary for criminals.”

Rape is a crime that affects victims for the rest of their lives. Rape victims frequently suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes them to have flashbacks and nightmares that constantly remind them of the rape until the day they die. Rape victims often struggle to have normal sexual relations post-trauma.

In many instances, rape victims turn to drugs or attempt suicide due to the pain that the rape caused them. In other instances, rape victims can become mentally ill and spend many years recovering from that condition inside of hospitals. Judaism teaches that the moral degradation and mental anguish that rape causes is equivalent to murder. It literally murders the soul of the woman or girl.

However, when a rape victim suffers such an indignity and witnesses her rapists walk free, it eats the soul of the victim alive. And when the victim is forced to give birth to her rapists’ child because she legally lost control over her own destiny, it makes life for the rape victim unbearable.

For this reason, an increasing number of Bangladeshi women are fighting against the present situation in their country, and American women should fight in order to prevent their country from following in the footsteps of Bangladesh. American women should do everything in their power to ensure that their nation does not become another third world country, which oppresses rape victims and robs them of the ability to control their bodies.

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. She is also the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”