- The Washington Times - Monday, September 30, 2013

A Saudi doctor took to the airwaves on Monday to debunk a recent clerical claim that women drivers face the risk of damaged ovaries.

Gynecologist Mohammed Baknah came forward over the weekend on the privately owned Rotana television channel and said there are no scientific studies proving that driving causes distress to women’s reproductive organs, the Associated Press reported.

His comments were in response to one of the country’s clerics, Skeik Saleh Saad el-Leheidan, who said that women who drive force their pelvises into unnatural upward positions, leading to long-term damage that hampers their ability to reproduce.

The back-and-forth comes as the country is poised for a very public debate on the right of women to drive in the hard-line Islamist country. Conservative Islamists say women should not be granted the right to drive. Women’s rights activists are holding a campaign on Oct. 26 to push the matter to the top of national consciousness, hoping to pressure the government to enact liberal reforms.

The one-day campaign is calling on all women to get behind the wheel and drive in defiance of the kingdom’s current ban.

A few weeks ago, another leading cleric called on followers of Islam to harass any woman who tries to drive.

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