Abortion and Religion

Subject: Health Care
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 871
Topics: Abortion, Christianity, Church, Hinduism, Islam
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The world health organization defines abortion as the termination of pregnancy before twenty weeks of gestation. According to the organization, abortion is the termination of pregnancy, whether it is medically induced or an abortion. Each year approximately 121 million pregnancies are unwanted. 6 out of 10 unwanted pregnancies and 3 out of 10 wanted pregnancies are aborted (World Health Organization, 2019). There are three major religions in the world; Christianity- 31.2%, isalm-24.1%, and Hinduism- 15.1%. Religion is pivotal in the morals and ethics of societies globally. Religion is also very influential in shaping attitudes and perspectives toward issues such as abortion. Religion often conflicts with science and public health recommendations regarding abortion (Dozier et al., 2020). In the contemporary world, when societies are faced with the dilemma of ethically wrong and right, religion is often relied upon to evaluate these decisions. Abortion is a global ethic conundrum with debates about whether it should be legal or illegal. To aid solve this debate, religions have offered insights in reference to their scripture and teachings. This essay will reflect on abortion through the lens of Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

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Christianity

The debate on abortion is categorized into two sides; pro-life and pro-choice. The former advocates keeping the fetus till the natural birth, and the latter advocates the mother’s freedom of choice to keep or abort the fetus. The Catholic Church, the biggest denomination of Christianity, has an extremely negative view of abortion. Catholic terms abortion as a gravely immoral act. Pope John Paul II articulated abortion as an “interference of the creator’s right to the mystery of life” in a public address in 1995; the Pope strongly advocated for pro-life, stating that the termination of a fetus is equivalent to murdering an innocent human being. However, the current Pope Francis has a less radical view on abortion. Since each person has a varying situation that would drive to abortion, pope Francis states that the ten commandments should guide and shape the lifestyles of the catholic community. However, they do so regarding each person’s circumstances and limitations. In this statement, the Pope tends to insinuate that abortion may be acceptable in certain situations, although he fails to clarify further.

The Anglican Church has a similar view to the Catholic Church. It views abortion as a moral view. The Anglican Church has an emphasis on power and authority. In this case, only God has power and authority over life. The Baptist church draws heavily from the scripture on abortion. 36% of its followers believe that abortion should be legal in some cases, and 59% believe that abortion should be illegal in most cases. The church follows the quotation from scripture (Job 31:35, proverbs 139:13-16) that human life begins at conception and abortion is unethical, and the destruction of creatures is created in God’s likeness. The Presbyterian Church views ambition as a critical ethical issue and should not be limited by law. In a nutshell, the Christian community’s view on abortion is greatly derived from their scriptures and allows them to have varying viewpoints influenced by their interpretation of the bible and doctrines (Nagasawa, 2021).

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Islam

In Islam, life is considered sacred and should be preserved. The basic purpose of Maqasid in Islamic law is to preserve and promote life. Abortion is therefore considered unlawful and a major sin (HARAM) in Islam, regardless of any situation. Additionally, the Islamic community considers it a greater sin if the pregnancy abortion is induced at later stages of the pregnancy (Iqbal et al., 2019). According to their teaching, deduced from the Hadith of Muhammad, when the pregnancy reaches 120 days, the soul enters the body. Therefore, late abortion at a later stage is more sinful and is considered deliberate murder. Islam considers the possibility of abortion in the circumstances such as; it is permitted at any stage of the pregnancy if the pregnancy poses health risks to the mother and must be confirmed by a qualified medical professional. Abortion is also permitted if the fetus is examined and determined to have a severe and lethal disability. Given the above, abortion is considered Haram, and one must repent to Allah for forgiveness.

Hinduism

Hindu society’s ethics of health and medicine are based on the ahimsa of non-violence. Regarding abortion, Hinduism advocates for choices that will do little to no harm to the fetus. In other terms, Hinduism is generally opposed to abortion because it causes harm to the fetus and should only be induced in unavoidable situations. Hindu texts refer to abortion as similar to killing a priest, worse than killing one’s parents, and a woman who induces abortion will lose her caste. Abortion is also viewed as a failure of duty to reproduce and add a new member to the community. Abortion is, however, practiced in the Hindu community as the bad against abortion is overruled by the preference for sons in the community; therefore, sometimes abortion can be accepted to prevent having daughters (Anand et al., 2022).

In conclusion, the above essay illustrates that religion is intensely involved in ethical issues globally, such as abortion. Religion slightly favors abortion regarding physical considerations such as congenital disabilities, the risk to the mother’s life, and rape. However, religion is greatly opposed to abortion regarding social considerations such as not wanting the baby and affording to raise the baby.

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  1. Anand, T., Chauhan, A., Sharma, M., & Jha, R. S. (2022). Abortion Laws In India: A Critical Analysis. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering, 7(6).
  2. Dozier, J. L., Hennink, M., Mosley, E., Narasimhan, S., Pringle, J., Clarke, L., … & Rice, W. S. (2020). Abortion attitudes, religious and moral beliefs, and pastoral care among Protestant religious leaders in Georgia. PloS one, 15(7), e0235971.
  3. Iqbal, H., Habib, A., & Amer, S. (2019). Abortion—An Islamic perspective. Ethics, 2(1), 1.
  4. Nagasawa, M. A. (2021). Abortion Policy and Christian Social Ethics in the United States. Wipf and Stock Publishers.
  5. World Health Organization. (2019). Medical management of abortion. World Health Organization.
  6. Zeldovich, V. B., Rocca, C. H., Langton, C., Landy, U., Ly, E. S., & Freedman, L. R. (2020). Abortion policies in US teaching hospitals: formal and informal parameters beyond the law. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 135(6), 1296-1305.
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