top of page


Contested Authorities over Life Politics Religious-Secular Tensions in Abortion Debates in Germany, Turkey, and Israel

Nil Mutluer, Shvat Eilat 



Conflicts between religious and secular discourses, norms, actors, and institutions are differently shaped across the Middle East and Europe in accordance with their specific socio-legal contexts. While current scholarship has often studied this tension by focus-ing on religious rituals, the authors shed new light on the way religion and secular-ity shape the everyday making of life politics by way of a three-country comparison of abortion debates in Germany, Turkey, and Israel. Through face-to-face interviews with stakeholders involved in interpreting secular abortion law, the authors analyze how social actors in three predominantly monotheistic countries and socio-political circumstances construe secular abortion laws differently in practice. The authors show that, contrary to common belief, contestations over abortion do not neatly di-vide between religious and secular authority, but they create gray zones of negotiation. Articulated through specific historical, political, and religious circumstances, such gray zones involve everyday decisions on human authority in determining abortion practices and differing understandings of women's bodies. 

Keywords: Sexuality, Nationalism, Gender, Turkey, Abortion, Israel, Germany

bottom of page