To Continue Rapes, ISIS Uses Birth Control

'Obscure' point of Islamic law prohibits raping a pregnant woman
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2016 8:13 AM CDT
To Continue Rapes, ISIS Uses Birth Control
Militants of the Islamic State group wave its flags in Raqqa, Syria.   (Militant photo via AP, File)

Another horror in the litany suffered by women and girls at the hands of ISIS: Fighters are forcing captives to take birth control so they can continue to use them as sex slaves, according to a lengthy New York Times article. "It is a particularly modern solution to a medieval injunction," writes Rukmini Callimachi. An "obscure" point of Islamic law cited by ISIS says that a man cannot have sex with a woman he enslaves unless he is certain that she is not pregnant. In interviewing 37 Yazidi women, Callimachi heard story after story of women being forced to take birth control pills or shots—sometimes both—and even encouraged to have abortions. In some instances, women were taken to the hospital for pregnancy tests. One girl recounts having to take a birth control pill in front of her captor each day.

"He gave me one box per month," she says. "When I ran out, he replaced it. When I was sold from one man to another, the box of pills came with me." Though, Callimachi writes, the rule isn't followed universally, the rate of pregnancy among the rape victims is "stunningly low." Of 700 victims to seek treatment at clinic in northern Iraq, just 35 became pregnant while they were being held. A doctor at the clinic said he would have expected at least 140. One woman was escorted to a hospital by her captor's mother for a pregnancy test, which was negative. The mother, Callimachi writes, "triumphantly told her son that the 18-year-old was not pregnant, validating his right to rape her, which he did repeatedly." One captive, an older woman not subjected to rape, says the insistence that birth control be used provides a degree of relief in a horrible situation: "No one wants to carry the child of their enemy." Read the whole article here. (More ISIS stories.)

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