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Having a child as an unmarried woman might be stigmatizing, but in Egypt encouraging other women to do so can land you in jail.
Doaa Salah, an Egyptian TV presenter for Al-Nahar TV, has been sentenced to three years in jail after she did a segment in which she discussed ways women could become pregnant outside of marriage and go on to become single mothers.
According to BBC News, Salah’s segment, which was shared on the network’s YouTube channel in July, featured Salah wearing a prosthetic stomach that made her appear pregnant and discussed marriage-alternative ways women could become pregnant, such as having sex before marriage, or getting married briefly to have children, then having a divorce.
Salah suggested women could pay a potential husband for the short marriage, or that women would use sperm donors. Artificial insemination isn’t socially acceptable in Egypt, and sex before marriage is still seen as unacceptable in the country. Egyptian authorities said Salah’s program “promoted immoral ideas that are alien to our society and threatened the fabric of Egyptian life.”
As a result of the segment, Salah was suspended from her presenting job for three months, then was charged and convicted with outraging public decency, as well as fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($566.49) to be paid to the lawyer who sued her.
Salah’s verdict can be appealed.
Watch Salah’s segment below:
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.