Qatar-Run Al Jazeera Posts Video Attacking Alabama Law. The Middle Eastern Country Jails Women For Abortion

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter
  • Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Human Life Protection Act into law Wednesday.
  • Al Jazeera posted a Facebook video that shows a woman explaining why the legislation endangers women.
  • Al Jazeera is based out of Doha, Qatar, a country where abortions are not permitted in almost all cases.

Middle Eastern news outlet Al Jazeera posted a Facebook video portraying Alabama abortion legislation as dangerous, but Al Jazeera’s home country of Qatar imprisons women for unauthorized abortions.

The Facebook video describes abortion legislation, H.B. 314, the state’s governor signed into law Wednesday. “People are going to die,” Helmi Henkin, an abortion rights activist, said in the video posted Wednesday.

Al Jazeera did not portray a person in favor of H.B. 314 in the video.

Al Jazeera is based out of Doha, Qatar, a country where abortions are not permitted in almost all cases. Qatari law mandates that women who procure abortions “without medical necessity” be sentenced up to three years of prison time, according to the Al Meezan Qatar Legal Portal. Men or doctors who procure abortions for Qatari women can be sentenced to 10 years of prison time.

Qatar is one out of 33 developing countries that ban abortion except in cases where abortions would preserve the health of the mother, according to a 2017 report from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that globally pushes sexual and reproductive health and rights. Guttmacher noted Qatar makes exceptions for abortions when there are fetal anomalies, which are commonly referred to as birth defects that could affect the pregnancy or the child’s quality of life.

“BREAKING,” Al Jazeera tweeted Tuesday. “Alabama’s Senate voted to outlaw abortion. The law: – Makes performing abortion a felony – Does not make exemptions for rape, incest – Only allows abortions to prevent serious health risk to the mother – Would go into law 6 months after the governor signs it.”

A Syria policy adviser for the charity Help Refugees, Oz Katerji, responded in a tweet. “In Qatar, abortions are only legal if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. Women who receive an ‘unauthorised’ abortion face 5 years in jail,” Katerji said.

“I respect a lot of the work AJ do, and I think it is crucial that people unite in condemnation of this barbarism taking place in US states, but the hypocrisy here is staggering,” Katerji continued.

Women in Qatar receive 5 years in jail for unauthorized abortions. SeraphP, Shutterstock

Women in Qatar, Al Jazeera’s home base, reportedly receive jail time for unauthorized abortions. SeraphP, Shutterstock.

“Opponents to the law have been very vociferous in their outcry, saying that this would punish rape victims and it would push women to seek abortions underground in unsafe procedures,” Al Jazeera correspondent Heidi Zhou-Castro said, according to an Al Jazeera article. The article includes perspectives of those both for and against H.B. 314.

The Alabama Senate passed H.B. 314 Tuesday, a near-total ban on abortions that makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law. The law, which will take effect in six months, is the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. (RELATED: Alabama’s Near-Total Abortion Ban Spares Women, Would Send Abortion Doctors To Prison)

The only exception is for when “abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk,” according to the bill’s text. All other abortion procedures are classified under the new law as Class A felonies, punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The abortion provider would be charged with the felony, but the mother would not be charged.

“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Ivey said in a statement. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

Al Jazeera did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Follow Mary Margaret on Twitter.

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