RABAT - The imminent arrival of a Dutch boat to promote abortion in Morocco is inviting condemnations in the Muslim-majority kingdom for running against the religious identity of the country.
"Moroccan law forbids abortion, lawyer Abdelmalik Zaza told Al-Tajdid newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Islamist party JPD, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Moroccan religious identity says it is forbidden and so does Islam. So the government cannot allow this ship to come to Morocco.
A Dutch boat is set to arrive in Morocco on Thursday, October 4, to raise support for the legalization of abortion in the kingdom.
The boat, championed by Women on Wave non-profit organization, says it was invited by a local Moroccan organization, the Alternative Movement for Individual Liberties (MALI), to promote abortion in the country.
But the Moroccan government says the Dutch boat did not have permission to enter the country.
In a statement on Thursday, the health ministry called for preventing the ship from docking in Moroccan territorial waters.
It said abortion is a medical procedure governed by specific legal provisions that define the case of legal abortion.
Abortion is banned in Islam unless for health reasons.
While Islam permits preventing pregnancy for valid reasons, it does not allow doing violence to it once it occurs.
Muslim jurists have agreed unanimously that after the fetus is completely formed and has been given a soul, abortion is haram.
It is also a crime, the commission of which is prohibited to the Muslims because it constitutes an offense against a complete, living human being
Moroccan activists also opposed a proposal by the Dutch NGO to perform abortion aboard the boat.
"It's true that the initiative is symbolic, to defend the rights of women to have abortions," Chafik Chraibi, the head of a Moroccan NGO that promotes abortion, told independent Moroccan daily Le Soir.
"But to practice abortion at sea, in international waters, is for me a way of circumventing the law and is something clandestine.
The Dutch non-profit organization alleges that between 600 and 800 abortions take place every day in Morocco.
"The problem is that only about 200 cases are done properly, by women who have money," Rebecca Gomperts, the founder of Women on Waves, said.
She insists that the rest resort to dangerous methods because they are unable to afford the expensive treatment.
This leads to the deaths of 78 Moroccan women each year on average, Gomperts claimed, citing statistics provided by the World Health Organization.
But Moroccan pro-life groups deny the figures.
"The figures on abortion are not right," Hannan Idrissi, a member of a Moroccan pro-life group, was quoted as saying by Al-Tajdid.
"The MALI movement that invited the ship is known for its disrespect for ethics and the dignity of Moroccan society.The abortion ship has already visited Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain, sparking protests in each country from pro-life groups.