Let me start by asking, how abortion is defined? Abortion is the ending of pregnancy by removing a fetus or embryo before it can survive outside the uterus. Many religions give different historical perspectives on the immorality of abortion, whether it can ever be permitted, and how believers should respond to it. In this paper I will be explaining the different views several religions have on abortion.
Going back thousands of years, the Christian faith has always valued human life; including unborn human life. In the Bible children before birth are referred to as small/young children. Though nobody can scientifically prove when life actually began, christians know from the bible that God is the creator of all things, he is the source of all life. When God created Adam, he was not alive until God, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). With this being said, no one knows the chemical combination that makes an unborn child live but the breath that God had breathed into him, but nobody knows when this miracle of life takes place. Life is holy, pure, and inviolable. We must respect it as we respect God, the giver of life. Throughout the whole bible, it is clear to us that God knows everything.
What is to come to each and everyone of us and has known this for eternity. God also knows each person, each life, even before conception. Not only does God knows every individual before they exist, but he also has a purpose with each of these lives. This is clearly expressed in the book of Psalms: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16). Following these Psalm verses, it all comes down to knowing that God is the creator of everything that is around us and he is the only one that can give and take a life. What is Christianity’s views on abortion? In the Christian faith, a child becomes a child the day of conception. Their view on abortion is that is wrong and it does not follows God’s will.When it comes to abortion, the Hindu way, is to choose the action that will do least harm to all involved ( the mother, father, the fetus, and the society). Hinduism is predominantly against abortion with one exception; if it is necessary to save the mother’s life.
In Hindu scripture, abortion is referred to as womb killing and in the Atharva Veda describes abortionist as the greater of sinners. In India, some Hindu culture, practices abortion because the religious ban on abortion is overruled by the cultural preference for sons. This specific Hinduism cultural preference justifies the practice of abortion to prevent the birth of girls. The doctrine of reincarnation, which sees life as a repeating cycle of birth, death and rebirth, is basic to Hindu thinking.
The doctrine of reincarnation can be used to make a strong case against the practice abortion: If a fetus is aborted, the soul within it suffers a major karmic set back. Then, it is deprived of the opportunities its potential human existence would have given it to earn good karma, and is returned immediately to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Thus, the practice of abortion hinders a soul’s spiritual progress. Reincarnation can also be used to make a case that the practice of abortion should be permitted.
Under the doctrine of reincarnation, the practice of abortion only deprives the soul of one of many births that it will have. The consequences of the practice of abortion in the framework of reincarnation are therefore not as bad as they are in those religions where a soul gets only one chance to be born and where abortion deprives the soul of all possibility of life.Judaism does not prohibits abortion, but permits abortion.
Abortion is only permitted for serious reasons, such as, when the mother’s life is in great risk. They believe that the mother’s life is more important than the life of the fetus. In the first forty days of the pregnancy, Judaism is more lenient because they consider the embryo as relatively low level value during this time. The argument for allowing this type of abortion is based on the pain the baby will cause the mother if the pregnancy is continued.
In Judaism, a fetus is not considered to be a “person” until it is born. Before the birth of the child, he/she is considered as a part of the mother’s body. During the first forty days after conception, it is considered ‘mere fluid’. From an ethical point of view, then: a fetus is not a person, but a fetus nonetheless should be protected to some extent because it is growing towards full personhood. In other words, a fetus should not be destroyed or harmed except for very good reasons.Like many other religions, Buddhism does not permit abortion. It is seen as murder.
Traditional Buddhism refuses the practice of abortion because it involves the destroying of a life. Buddhists believe life starts the day of conception. Buddhists are anticipated to take full individual duty for everything they do and for the results that take after. The decision to abort is a highly personal one, and one that requires careful and compassionate exploration of the ethical issues involved, and a willingness to carry the burden of whatever happens as a result of the decision.The ethical consequences of the decision will also depend on the motive, the intention behind the decision, and the level of mindfulness with which it was taken. There are cases where not having an abortion may result in the birth of a child with medical conditions that cause it to suffer. Some Buddhist believe that if the child is going to be handicapped or will have a “birth defect” then practicing an abortion is permitted.
The Dalai Lama once said: “Of course, the practice of abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception.
I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.” (Dalai Lama) The Mormons are very strict in the way they treat and talk about the practice of abortion. Having an abortion or the participation in any kind of pro-choice movement will end your membership with the church. Mormons believe that abortion has become a common practice in our society today. Many Latter-day prophets have publicly declared the practice of abortion as wrong, referring to the Lord’s declaration “Thou shalt not.
..kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). Church leaders have made some exceptions to justifying an abortion like: as a result of a rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. These circumstances do not justify the decision to have an abortion. Women who face any of these circumstance should consult their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through serious prayer before proceeding to have an abortion.Many Muslims believe that abortion is wrong and forbidden.
But, in some cases abortion is acceptable. After one hundred and twenty days of the pregnancy, the expectant mother is allowed to abort if the child is causing danger or harming her well being. The Muslim scholars that permit early abortion see it as wrong but do not punish, but the more far along the woman is into the pregnancy the greater the wrong. Islam allows the practice of abortion to happen if it is to save the mother’s life because the baby is seen as “the lesser of two evils”. Abortion is regarded as a lesser evil in this case because the mother’s life is well-established , the mother has duties and responsibilities, the mother is the “originator” of the fetus and allowing the mother to die would also kill the fetus in most cases. Muslim scholars say is is okay to abort if you child was going to be born with defects, these scholars say woman can abort if the pregnancy is less than one hundred and twenty days old.
With this being said all scholars believe that the start of life is at conception. The scholars also state that an embryo deserves respect and protection at all stages of pregnancy.The Catholics view the practice of abortion as a grave evil and have always condemned it. Unlike all these other previously mentioned religions, Catholicism doesn’t accept abortion due to rape,incest or if the mother’s life is in danger. These are not reasons that justify the end of a life or in this case conduct an abortion.
Pope Francis said in reference to abortion that it was a “horrendous crime” and a “very grave sin”. To the Catholic Church the ending of an unborn life is seen as always wrong, sinful, and immoral. It doesn’t matter how the child was conceived this is not considered relevant or seen as an excuse to abort the child. Today, the topic of the practice of abortion is a common “household” topic. We hear about the practice of abortion almost all the time, whether it be on the news, around our neighborhoods, at work and even around our schools. I believe that the practice of an abortion is wrong and should not be a common “household” topic. Even though now a days medical advancements have made it possible to monitor a mother’s pregnancy from the time the baby has been conceived all the way to his/her birth.
It can even show a 3D image of the fetus growing in the mother’s womb. But at the same time it can detect if there are “problems” in a developing fetus. The abortion topic has brought a lot of controversy in the medical field.
Many specialists have many different points of view when it becomes to the abortion topic. Some believe that a fetus with a clear developing disability could have a full life and also have a great quality of life. Others believe, that the most reasonable and kindest thing to do is to terminate the pregnancy, to avoid the burden and complications that the family might have to carry. But, just because your child is going to be “different” doesn’t mean he/she won’t live his/her life to the fullest or with a great quality of life.
With these test I see a conflict. Why?, well what if your baby’s test is wrong and says that he/she has down syndrome or autism and you decide to abort. You just ended a life and will never know if you child actually had a medical condition. No one can assure you that these type of tests are one hundred percent accurate every time.
There is always a margin of error that there is no way to quantify or now which test would be the one providing the erroneous outcome. Science as well as the medical field are limited to the evidence based studies that currently exist.If your child is born with special needs, God gave you this child because he knows you will treat this child with care, cherish, and love him/her with all your heart to the end of the earth and back. God knows who has the patience, time to take care, and give the child a wonderful life. God doesn’t give you a child with special needs or a terminal condition as a punishment.
He gives you this child because he knows you can take care of him/her and give him/her a great quality of life without any regrets. We can all agree that all of these religions have one common thought when it comes to the practice of abortion, “IT IS NOT PERMITTED”.