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Table 3 Table of Considerations Affecting Abortion Refusal

From: Decision-making on terminating pregnancy for Muslim Arab women pregnant with fetuses with congenital anomalies: maternal affect and doctor-patient communication

Against Abortion In favor of Abortion Various Considerations
Interviewee #9:
“I am already used to this… because my third daughter had the same illness. Medicine is extremely advanced. I know what the illness is like and how to treat it.”
Interviewee #1:
“Yes, of course… there will be a pronounced difference in my lifestyle, and there will be a big difference in my family’s life and my husband’s life”
Changes in Lifestyle
Interviewee #15:
“No, definitely not, with all of the advances in the world, with all of the advances and the rights that special needs are entitled to, the situation is still tragic in our society. The child’s parents will always be given looks of pity, and they will always be treated as though the child is a burden for them and for the family.
Interviewee #8:
“Yes… if the child has supportive parents who help him, and if his parents teach him that he is no different from other children, and they educate him the right way, then these children can fulfil themselves in life…”
Wellbeing of a Child with Disability
Interviewee #28:
“If they were to tell me that the pregnancy is endangering my life, I would not terminate the pregnancy… When it’s your time to die, it’s your time… Everything is in God’s hands… He is the one who decided when a person dies.”
Interviewee #9:
“I would choose me because I have children and a sick daughter at home who really really needs me… According to our religion, it says in the Quran that if there is any danger, the woman is allowed to abort.”
Will the pregnancy put the women’s life in danger?
Interviewee #17:
“My husband’s family and my husband encouraged me to abort… You know why? The whole family is secular. But their views don’t interest me at all, and don’t have any effect on me.”
Interviewee #20:
“I was afraid of God. From God’s punishment if I killed a soul… the people around me put these ideas into my head.”
Family Influence
Interviewee #1:
“I have no doubt about the results. OK! Like all mothers, I did not want my child to be born sick… I wanted to continue the pregnancy with a healthy child. But I can’t ignore reality.”
Interviewee #17:
“I don’t even think about it. I can’t imagine having a retarded son. We won’t even think about it. I believe that I am carrying a healthy child. That’s why I am not planning to prepare for a child with special needs.”
Hope and Optimism
Interviewee #8:
“His father and me… Of course… Who else other than us would take care of him?”
Interviewee #12:
“My children’s main caretaker is me. Whether the child is sick or not… My husband does not help at home and he does not know how. I carry the responsbility alone.”
Husband’s degree of support
Interviewee #5:
“I will have to give more time and energy to one child. I am afraid that this will be at the expense of my other son.”
Interviewee #13:
“The first reason is that this is my first pregnancy… the first time I have gotten pregnant… the first time I will be becoming a mother.”
What Number Pregnancy?
Interviewee #3:
“My second son is extremely jealous of my daughter… how would it be if he had an even younger brother. He’d go completely crazy… But there’s nothing I can do about this.”
Interviewee #8:
“The thing that encouraged me was that after 3 daughters, I really wanted a son… If you don’t have a son, they look at you differently… it’s a matter of tradition to have a son who carries the family forward.”
The importance of the foetus’s sex
Interviewee #13:
“Religious leaders don’t have anything to do with this topic. We need to proceed according to the Quran. …”
Interviewee #19:
“I asked a sheikh about my situation… You know what he said? He said that everything is in God’s hands, and we can’t fight God’s decision. He said: ‘I personally don’t know what to tell you, whether you should abort or not – whether it is allowed or not, because it is not mentioned in the Quran. Forbidden or permitted in your case… I cannot sanction it… because it is killing a living soul. But! It’s up to you, whether you can bear the mourning and sadness that come after you have a child like this.’ I felt like he was hinting that I should abort but that he could not officially permit it as a man of religion. That’s why now I don’t believe sheikhs, their opinions and feelings. Whatever decision they make I think is based on religious uncertainty because these things are not explained clearly in our religion.”
Influence of Religious Leaders
Interviewee #20:
“I know about two cases in which they said one thing, but another thing happened. Like when they said the child would be born handicapped but he was born completely healthy. But this still didn’t make me feel good.”
Interviewee #4:
“My neighbor told me that she was also told that her child would be disfigured, that she would be born with a disfigured face. But she was born healthy and beautiful. When you are in this situation, you need something to hope for.”
Trust/Mistrust
Interviewee #5:
“Not all of the tests are accurate. I have heard lots of stories about babies whose doctors said that they would be born with serious defects but they were born completely healthy. I still think that the degree of accuracy is 50%.”
Interviewee #2:
“In my opinion, genetic tests are important… but only if the results are correct.”
Perceptions/Attitudes towards Genetic Testing