Abortion Options for Malayali women living in Middle East
Are you too a part of Kerala Gulf Diaspora?
The years 1972 through 1983 saw the “Kerala Gulf Boom”. During this period, the mass population of Kerala migrated to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States. The population consisted of large numbers from the indigenous ethnic group of Kerala, the ‘Malayalis.
The migration started for professional reasons and is still prominent today. You can find a member or more from each second family from Kerala residing in one of these GCC states. As of today, more than 3.5 million native Malayalis or people from Kerala are living in the Middle East.
Together, these people, the natives of Kerala living in the Middle Eastern Arab states of the Persian Gulf form the Kerala Gulf Diaspora.
This post is for the women residing in any of these states. Legal abortions in Arab countries are nearly impossible to obtain. Through this post, we wish to help such women find their best safe, legal and confidential abortion options.
The difficulty of obtaining a safe, legal and confidential abortion in GCC states:
Seven countries are together regarded as the GCC States. These are Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Are you too living in any of these countries? If yes, you may be aware of the ordeal that unwanted pregnancies bring to women in these countries. Furthermore what complicates their problems is the non-availability of legal abortions.
These women often resort to unsafe abortions or some other extreme behaviors to get rid of unwanted pregnancies. They not only stress out their health and medical conditions but also risk their lives. The problem of unwanted pregnancy is intensely grave for any woman. And when the woman is a resident of a country where abortion is illegal, the situation may become cumbersome.
In Gulf countries, availing abortions is difficult not only for unmarried girls or single women but also for married women. This is both due to the stringent abortion rules of these countries and the stigma associated with abortion rules.
Let us briefly discuss the abortion rules in these Gulf Countries.
Abortion rules in the GCC States:
If you are carrying an unwanted pregnancy and seek an abortion for the same, it is important that you first relax. You are not alone. Most of the pregnancies occurring worldwide are unwanted. And to be, frankly speaking, it is your reproductive right and choice to be a mother for the unborn or not.
There are plenty of reasons that can end up in an unplanned pregnancy. And there are plenty of circumstances due to which a woman may seek an abortion. Agonizingly, abortions are not permissible by law equally in all countries. And a woman’s right to abortion is governed by the abortion rules of the country where she seeks one.
Remember, you do have safe abortion options. So, please do not risk your health by buying abortion pills or resorting to any other unsafe abortion method. You may not know what hurdles you may create by doing so.
First, let us find out whether abortion in your country is legal or not.
Abortion in Bahrain: Do you have a legal choice?
If you are a Malayali woman living in Bahrain, this section of the post is for you. Abortion in Bahrain is governed by the following rules. Check out your legal eligibility for abortion in Bahrain.
“Abortion in Bahrain is illegal.”
- It may be allowed only in an event to save the life of the woman. A panel of three doctors working in a government hospital decide whether the ongoing pregnancy poses a threat to the woman’s life. If it is found so, only then the abortion is legally allowed.
- Such legal eligibility is only for married women and that too is on their partner’s consent.
If you opt for an illegal or self-induced abortion in Bahrain such as buying abortion pills, you may be punished. You may be imprisoned for up to six months. Hence, never take the risk of buying abortion pills in Bahrain online or through an illegal source.
Moreover, unsafe abortions are accompanied by grave complications. Your health may have a negative impact and it may even threaten your life.
Let’s come to the next country, Kuwait.
Abortion in Kuwait:
Here is what you should know about the abortion rules in Kuwait if you are seeking a legal abortion there.
Abortion in Kuwait is illegal and may be permitted only
- To save the woman’s life, and/or
- Fetal anomalies have been detected. But only in the case of unviability, abortion is allowed.
These clauses stand true only up to 17 gestation weeks and for married women only. And do you know, you will have to prove your marriage before getting an abortion?
Never attempt a self-abortion in Kuwait since not only it is punishable but can also risk your life. And the punishment is not a small one. You may be imprisoned for a minimum of three years and a maximum of up to 15 years. All your future plans may also be ruined.
Keep reading further to know your best abortion option.
Abortion in Iraq:
The rules that govern abortions in Iraq are similar to that of Kuwait. Abortion in Iraq is illegal and may be permitted only for married women with the consent of both partners. It is available legally either to save the woman’s health or fetal impairment has been detected.
Illegal abortions in Iraq are punishable. If you too are seeking an abortion in Iraq, please do not self-administer abortion pills. They may put your health and even life in danger.
Abortion in Oman:
Abortion in Oman is restricted to events only when the same is required to save the woman’s life. But it cannot be availed on the woman’s consent or to unmarried or single women. It is an option only for married women with the consent of their husbands.
Again, marriage has to be proved through a valid marriage registration certificate.
Illegal abortion in Oman is punishable for the woman, the provider and the helper(s). If you are planning to buy abortion pills in Muscat, Oman, beware of the illegality. And the threat it may pose to your health is further bigger.
Abortion in Qatar:
Qatar is yet another GCC state. If you are residing here, this section of the post will let you know the legal abortion status there.
Abortion in Qatar is illegal and may be permitted only in a few events. These include saving the woman’s life and a case of fetal anomalies. But you have to be married and be able to prove the same for such an abortion too.
Moreover, consent of both partners is required for the same. And the gestation period up to which abortion may be allowed in these cases is only 16 weeks. If the problem comes at a later stage, you may have no legal abortion in Qatar option.
Are you trying to avail of an illegal abortion in Qatar such as by buying abortion pill? If yes, then, you are not only committing a crime as per their abortion law but also risking your life.
You may not know where buying abortion pills in Qatar may lead you. It may be better to learn your safe abortion options. Stay tuned until we get to that section of the post.
Abortion in Saudi Arabia:
Similar to the countries above, abortion in Saudi Arabia is also restricted. It is available only to married women to save their life and/or health or in events of fetal impairment only.
Abortion in the United Arab Emirates (UAE):
Similar to all other GCC States, abortion in UAE is also restricted to events where it is essential to save the woman’s life/health. And also in cases of fetal anomalies.
But what about the ones where abortion is needed for other reasons like contraceptive failure? Or when the girl is unmarried or the pregnancy has resulted from an immoral act?
If you too are searching your answers for safe and confidential abortions, you are at the right place.
Abortions and guilt:
It has been seen that abortion as a word itself is associated with illegitimate sexual relationships. The stigma with abortions takes a bigger shape with adolescent pregnancies or you can say unmarried girl abortions.
It is not a single person involved in the same. And it is not always in the hands of a woman to choose not to get pregnant.
If you are made to feel guilty, then just chuck-off such negative thoughts from your mind. After all, you know it better than anyone else, what’s good for you and what’s not. And it’s only you who will have to face the circumstances of your choices. Then, why not make the right choice.
While deciding on an abortion, always remember that you are doing what is best for you. What good shall be if you carry your pregnancy forward only to be not able to give a good life to the child?
Parenting is a choice just like any other decision you make in your life. You may choose to become a parent someday in future. But if it is not today, then abortion is just another method of birth control sought when other contraceptive measures fail. So, justify your choice but don’t let guilt or anyone else’s words take you down for how you feel.
What is more important is to have a safe abortion. The safety of your health and life should be your priority.
Reasons for abortion:
Women in Gulf countries, just like women anywhere else may get pregnant even when it is not a part of their plan. It may result from many controllable and uncontrollable circumstances. However, if they wish to have the unwanted pregnancy terminated, they are not legally allowed to do so.
As evident from the abortion rules in GCC states, it is very much clear that a woman in these countries cannot obtain a legal and safe abortion in events where:
- Unwanted pregnancy is a result of rape/sexual assault/incest.
- The contraceptives adopted failed and resulted in pregnancy.
- Abortion is needed due to social or economic reasons.
- Where the family is complete and an addition is not desired.
- When fetal deformities have been detected during prenatal monitoring. Some countries do allow abortion for this reason, but the classification of fetal anomalies vary largely. They do not allow legal abortions for all fetal deformities.
- There are events when the pregnant woman has any physical or mental disability and is not fit for raising the child. Sadly, but abortion is illegal in these countries even on such occasions.
- In some cases, continuing the pregnancy may pose a threat to the woman’s life or health. But abortions are not available in all such events.
- When the pregnant girl is unmarried. She may have many reasons like marriage after some time, breaking up with the partner or stigma itself.
Many people have migrated to these Gulf countries for professional reasons. They may have their career goals ahead of their marriage or childbearing. Some young couples in their early 20s also postpone family planning.
But they do not have legal abortion options in their native places. This turns their situation miserable and adds to the mental stress.
Travelling to India for safe, legal and confidential abortion:
Many Kerala expatriates often travel to India for marriages. They return to these Gulf countries after getting married.
If they can travel to India for getting married, why not for a safe, legal and confidential abortion?
The big question is concerning their safe abortion options. And the good news is that they do have an option for safe abortion in Bangalore, India. Let us read how can they have a safe, legal and confidential abortion in India.
The legal status of abortion in India:
Abortions in India are governed by the MTP Act 1971 and its amendments, the latest being the MTP Act, 2021. Abortion in India is legally permissible in the following cases:
- When contraceptive measures failed and resulted in pregnancy.
- In case the pregnancy is a result of rape/incest.
- If ongoing pregnancy continuation poses a risk to the mother’s physical and/or mental wellbeing.
- Fetal anomalies have been detected.
Comparison with abortion rules in GCC states:
Contraceptive failure is the major reason for unplanned pregnancies. And the other is a sexual assault which can be seen even in marriages. Unlike the GCC states, abortion in India is legally available for such cases.
Gestation period and the comparison:
Abortion in India is available for up to 20 weeks in normal cases and up to 24 weeks in special cases. It varies from the GCC states where an abortion may be allowed for only up to 16 or 17 weeks.
Marital status and the comparison:
Abortion in India can be availed legally both by married and unmarried women. Unmarried girl abortion is nearly impossible to avail in any of the GCC states. And the stigma associated further complicates their situations.
Consent for abortion:
In India, abortion can be availed only on the woman’s consent. No partner or parental consent is required if the woman is an adult. So, if you are 18 years and above, you can avail of legal abortion in India only with your consent.
Whereas in the Gulf countries, abortions, if allowed are available only for married women who can prove their marriage. And the consent of either the partner only or of both the man and the woman is needed.
Abortion in Bangalore for Malayali women from Gulf countries:
Malayali women living in Gulf countries prefer to travel to Bangalore rather than Kerala for safe abortions. This is because the stigma with abortions is immense even in Kerala.
The bigger problem is that doctors in Kerala deny women safe abortions. Rather than providing consultation and counselling, they preach the women against abortions. They even make them feel guilty.
Bangalore is a metropolitan city and has been regarded as one of the choicest medical destinations. People often travel to Bangalore for medical procedures and abortion is also one of them.
There are many abortion clinics in Bangalore, but you may want to choose the best. When travelling from a different country, there are certain specifications that you may want and even expect.
These may be personalized abortion care, no waiting period, a single-appointment procedure, successful abortion and more. When a woman opts for abortion in a foreign land, she wants to get the best of everything and return with a successful procedure.
So, here are your Gentle Care abortion options, the ones that can give you access to Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC).
Abortion at American Hospital Bangalore (AHB):
American Hospital Bangalore (AHB) is a premier abortion hospital that is very different from other abortion clinics in Bangalore or anywhere else in India. The hospital focuses relentlessly on a very few specialized services in which the team is the best.
Abortion procedures at AHB:
Firstly, the hospital is a registered MTP clinic where all abortion procedures are available. The only boutique hospital of its kind offers abortion services following the CAC guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The medical method of abortion:
This is done with the help of abortion pills. You may opt for this method of abortion if your pregnancy is intrauterine and less than 8 weeks. Although it is the earliest abortion method, it may not be your choice if you are travelling to Bangalore for a single-appointment procedure. This is because the abortion pill method may mean:
- Two or more appointments.
- It may take 2-3 days for the spontaneous abortion and up to 12-14 days for an abortion to be completed.
- It is accompanied by moderate to heavy bleeding and moderate to severe pain.
- You may have an incomplete abortion which is represented by bleeding and pain even beyond 12 days. This is because this method is not 100% efficient.
- You may need a surgical method to complete your abortion.
Because of all these and the discomfort it brings along, Malayali women often prefer suction abortion.
Vacuum Aspiration or the Suction method of abortion:
This method is recommended for terminating first-trimester pregnancies, i.e., the ones that are less than 12 weeks. This method can be adopted even when you have the medical abortion method available as a choice. It is the most preferred abortion method for women coming here from different cities and countries since:
- It is painless and takes not more than 10 minutes to get completed.
- A single-appointment procedure means you can receive consultation, diagnosis, abortion procedure and discharge all on the same day.
- It is a nearly 100% efficient procedure and you can return with a successful abortion.
- Bleeding, pain and discomfort with this method is minimum.
But if you are in your second trimester or the embryo size is larger, the doctor may prescribe you another abortion method, the following one.
Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E) method of abortion:
This is the surgical abortion method. But do not worry. At AHB, it is also painless and a single-appointment procedure. It is recommended for terminating second-trimester pregnancies, i.e., up to 20 weeks.
It may take less than 30 minutes for the procedure to be completed. You can get discharged the same day.
The doctor first checks your medical history, gets some diagnostic tests done for the length and location of the pregnancy. And some other tests are performed to rule out complications with abortions. And only then, the best method personalized to your specific needs may be prescribed.
We understand the sensitivity associated with abortions and hence we recommend you to travel to AHB for a confidential abortion.
Since there is no waiting period and abortions are scheduled as per appointments, confidentiality is guaranteed at all times.
The hospital staff is highly professional, caring and compassionate. You can expect a non-judgmental abortion experience.
- Abortion service at AHB is given to only a single patient at a time. You may schedule your appointment early and save your seat.
- After you have an appointment, make your travel arrangements and hotel bookings accordingly.
You can easily take a short flight to Bangalore. Check out the schedules and tariffs at the following links to find the best one as per your time and place.
- At least keep a night stay as a part of your abortion trip. Although you may feel comfortable within an hour after the abortion. It may be better to have a night’s rest and then travel the following day or as per the flight availability.
- You may call the hospital helpline number or chat through WhatsApp after the abortion until your post-abortion recovery.
You can happily return after a successful abortion. Have a speedy recovery!