Saudi women abandon their newborn babies on the street if they’ve give birth out of wedlock

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Mohamad Dabbouss/Reuters
  • In Saudi Arabia, unmarried women face prosecution and even jail if they are found to be pregnant. So unwed mothers abandon their babies in the street.
  • “Sometimes they kill the girl if she has been raped – if your family is crazy conservative they will kill their own relatives,” says Dana Almayouf, a Saudi woman living in New York.
  • Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, confirmed the practice: “It is a widely known issue that babies are left on the street.”

Babies born out of wedlock are abandoned on the streets in Saudi Arabia as women fear retribution and punishment for having a child outside of marriage, campaigners have warned.

Abortion is illegal in the Middle Eastern country unless a woman’s health is at risk and sexual relations outside of marriage are criminalised – with unmarried women faced with prosecution and even jail if they are found to be pregnant.

Under the kingdom’s restrictive guardianship system, women are legal minors and cannot marry, divorce, travel, get a job, be released from prison or have elective surgery without permission from their male guardians. Women are also forbidden from mixing freely with members of the opposite sex.

Dana Almayouf, a Saudi woman living in New York, said: “Babies are abandoned on the streets. It is not safe on the streets. Mostly our newspapers in Saudi Arabia do not shed light on the subject because it is a taboo.

“Even with premarital sex, they get rid of the baby by putting them on the street,” she claimed.

“No matter how open-minded your family is, you can’t keep the baby if you are not married.

“Sometimes they kill the girl if she has been raped”

“Sometimes they kill the girl if she has been raped – if your family is crazy conservative they will kill their own relatives. On the other hand, the men can have as much sex as they want as long as they do not speak about it.

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