Thursday, January 03, 2013


Being a woman, I was concerned with reading about the risks that young women put themselves into when they become pregnant out of wedlock in Oman. Contraceptions are only given to women who are married as out of wedlock sex is considered a sin.

Oman, a small country in the Gulf, is booming with wealth partly because of it's oil exports. This economic growth has pushed the country to educate more women as it needs an educated workforce. More women are now having day to day contact with men then they would have back in their tribal villages.

The economic boom unfortunately has not led to cultural change as women who are pregnant outside a marriage are considered to have dishonored the family and could lead to beatings and in extreme cases death. Women will also not be 'marriageable' after the pregnancy.

These attitude has led to a substantial number of women feeling like they have to abort secretly rather than bring shame to their parents. However in Oman, abortion is illegal unless the mother's life is in danger. The women, whether influenced by family members or their decision, go to back street abortionist to have the abortion.

Doctors in Oman told reporters that an average of two unmarried women are admitted to emergency wings and some of the women do not make it. They said that there are about 50 to 70 abortions carried out illegally every year. These are worrying statistics, but the government says it will not change their laws of giving contraceptives to unmarried women as the community will be outraged.

A reporter wrote that one father said not one single parent will agree to having their daughters being given free contraception-though the article did not say what kind of contraception they are talking about, I am assuming that they mean pills, injections and condoms. The father said parents feel that this will lead to their daughters being promiscuous.

Illegal abortions will continue and perhaps increase in Oman, putting women at risk if Conservative attitudes about sex are not changed in the country.