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Saudi fatwa: No giving birth unless 'male guardian' is present

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Arguably one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's (KSA) religious clerics council has ruled no woman may seek or receive medical attention from male medical or health professionals unless a "male guardian" is present, as reported by the English-language newspaper the Arab News (of Jeddah, KSA) on Feb.14, 2014.

The kingdom's all-powerful Council of Senior Scholars issued a "fatwa" (religious edict) prohibiting any and all women within the confines of the nation as much as even speaking to a male doctor, nurse or even a nutritionist without the Islamic definition of male guardian being present.

Per Islamic sharia law, male guardians would be those of first or second degree of kinship - such as husbands, fathers, grandfathers or uncles. Adult sons or nephews would also fit the qualification.

According to Sheikh Qais al-Mubarak, a member of the Board of Senior Scholars:

Islamic law does not permit women to visit their doctors without male guardians.

The sheikh further stated:

Women are prohibited from exposing body parts to male doctors in Islamic law, especially during childbirth.

Perhaps enlightened by the realization that women could go into labor with or without a male guardian present, did grant a dispensation:

This does not include medical emergencies. Islamic jurisprudence makes exceptions.

The Saudi Morality Police, officially know as The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia), has been ordered to enforce the newly issued order.

An anonymous source was cited by the Arab News that Haia officers "recently issued orders to employees working at a nutrition center not to admit women patients unless a guardian accompanies them during their weekly visits."

Reportedly, the implementation of the order has caused "huge losses to the nutrition center in a single week."

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