Document Detail


Reproductive choice in Islam: gender and state in Iran and Tunisia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8209394     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
This report examines the extent to which reproductive choice is compatible with Islamic principles. It presents the argument that the impact of Islam on reproductive choice is largely a function of the political context in which gender issues are defined. Indicators of reproductive health in countries of the Middle East are reviewed and the way these relate to constraints on reproductive choice is assessed. The examples of Tunisia and Iran are used to illustrate the way in which Islam is invoked to legitimate conflicting positions concerning women and their reproductive options.
A population and international health specialist examines the circumstances that affect different interpretations of reproductive choice in Muslim countries. She uses Iran and Tunisia as cases to show how the state develops reproductive options for women. In both countries, one uses Islamic doctrine to legitimate conflicting positions in regards to women's place and reproduction. For example, in Tunisia, President Bourguiba (1957-1984) justified abolition of polygyny by referring to a Koranic verse that says a man cannot be fair to all wives. He claimed this verse negated polygyny, because the verse which allows men to have up to 4 wives requires that all wives be treated equally. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini sought religious justifications from the Koran and Hadith for the retraditionalization of women's roles. It urged them to marry and have children. Yet, the theocratic government mobilized women on a massive scale to vote, recruited them into paramilitary forces, and hired them as government employees. Therefore, the effect of Islam on gender and reproduction is basically a function of the political setting in which these issues are interpreted. Changes in the economic, political, and social arenas influence the means by which people in power interpret the ethical code of religion into policies affecting women's status. Contrary views of the social order are played out in women and reproduction issues. For example, the veiling of Muslim women expresses various groups' dramatic opposition to the state, colonial powers, or to Western influence. They use the veiling to represent their call for a return to true Islam. One cannot assume that all groups referred to as fundamentalist support reduced women's freedoms, and modernization does not lead to greater reproductive choice. These contradictions allow individual women to identify their own strategies, e.g., manipulating the rules or resisting them.
Authors:
C M Obermeyer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Studies in family planning     Volume:  25     ISSN:  0039-3665     ISO Abbreviation:  Stud Fam Plann     Publication Date:    1994 Jan-Feb
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1994-07-13     Completed Date:  1994-07-13     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7810364     Medline TA:  Stud Fam Plann     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  41-51     Citation Subset:  E; IM; J    
Affiliation:
Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115.
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Choice Behavior*
Conflict (Psychology)
Cultural Diversity*
Educational Status
Ethical Relativism
Family Planning Services
Female
Fertility
Gender Identity*
Health Policy
Health Services Accessibility
Humans
Internationality
Iran
Islam*
Male
Moral Obligations
Morals
Personal Autonomy
Politics*
Reproduction*
Social Change
Social Values
Theology
Tunisia
Women's Health*
Women's Rights*
Women, Working / statistics & numerical data

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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