Saturday, August 8, 2015

Made and Aborted in Manhattan (?)

I've become aware of three cases from this past week alone, where girls and women are being coerced to abort their babies. It is a big issue. As well as being morally wrong, it is illegal. One such case is that of "Rachida" and "Ibrahim" from Turkey.

They married two months ago & Rachida came to join Ibrahim in New York, where he has been living for 15 years (They had a long distance, year-long engagement. We suspect that it was an arranged marriage). On arriving at our centre together just one week ago, Rachida was crying. She is pregnant with their first child and she did not, and does not want an abortion. Ibrahim was resolute: he wanted to abort the baby, saying he wanted them to have time to get to know eachother first and that they could "have another one". He also tried to justify the abortion on the basis that Rachida needs time to adjust to life in NY.  When leaving, Ibrahim was as determined as ever to have his wife abort their little baby son or daughter. He has phoned us numerous times this week...

Rachida is in a very vulnerable situation. She only very recently moved to NY & she doesn't speak English. Since her appointment with us, she has communicated to us that Ibrahim has threatened to divorce her & send her back to Turkey if she doesn't abort their baby. We have a lawyer, but Rachida doesn't want to avail of his services because of her husband's wrath and the likely implosion of her marriage. Moreover, in the event of divorce, while Ibrahim couldn't legally send Rachida back to Turkey, she would have no alternative but to return voluntarily, given she has neither or family nor support nor independent accommodation nor a job in NY. Returning a divorced woman in a Muslim would bring shame on her. Personally, I think the divorce is an empty threat. However, my sense is that Ibrahim would make life extremely difficult for Rachida (intimidation, verbal abuse or worse...) if she tries to buy more time or if she refuses outright. I fear that what is most likely is that she could be bullied into the abortion or that she could reluctantly consent in order to placate him, to 'save' her marriage and to prevent her new life from falling down around her. She would pay the ultimate price: the killing and sacrifice of her first pre-born child.

Please pray for this family of three, for the protection of their baby, for strength for Rachida and for a change of heart for Ibrahim.

Made and aborted in Manhattan (?): please pray so that the title of this post does not become this little baby's epitaph. He is meant for more than this.


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