Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in society today; many religions tend to oppose abortion for the reason that we, as humans, were not meant to play God in deciding the fate of the lives of other human beings.
The morality of abortions is often not as clear as religion or practicality because almost no one believes that killing an unborn fetus is without a moral dilemma.
Muslims regard abortion as wrong and haram (forbidden), but many accept that it may be permitted in certain cases.
Although there are different opinions among Islam about when life begins and when abortion is permissible, most agree that the termination of a pregnancy after 120 days – the point at which, in Islam, a fetus is thought to become a living soul is not permissible.
“There is one exceptional situation. If, after the baby is completely formed, it is reliably shown that the continuation of the pregnancy would necessarily result in the death of the mother, then, in accordance with the general principle of the Shari`ah, that of choosing the lesser of two evils, abortion must be performed,” Said Sheikh Sibomana Hamdun of Madina Mosque, Kigali Central.
Christians oppose the deliberate killing of the unborn baby when the mother’s life is not in danger.
“Some pregnant women or girls have their unborn babies killed because they don’t want the responsibility of looking after their child. Or they think that if the child lives they will have to give up their career, or they think it will be too expensive,” Said Pastor Venner Akayezu of Faith Centre Church, Kanombe.
Early Christians declared abortion a sin; though there is disagreement over their thoughts on what type of sin it was and how grave a sin it was held to be; it was seen as grave as sexual immorality.
They believed that the embryo did not have a soul from conception, and that early abortion was therefore not murder.
Opposition to abortion is one of the clearest and oldest moral preachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It has always condemned abortion as a grave evil. In 1995 Pope John Paul II declared that the Church’s teaching on abortion “is unchanged and unchangeable.”
The Catholic view is based on a general respect for all human life, but it does not depend exclusively on the belief that a separate human being appears at the instant of conception.
The official Seventh-day Adventist position on abortion is that it is permissable only in exceptional circumstances that present serious moral or medical dilemmas, such as significant threats to the pregnant woman’s life, serious jeopardy to her health, severe congenital defects carefully diagnosed in the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. While the general tone toward abortion is negative.
Jehovah’s Witnesses also condemn abortion, they teach that life begins at conception and life is sacred to Jehovah. Abortion is regarded as murder.
Hindu strongly condemns abortion. When considering abortion, the Hindu way is to choose the action that will do least harm to all involved; the mother and father, the foetus and society.
In practice, however, abortion is practiced in Hindu culture in India, because the religious ban on abortion is sometimes overruled by the cultural preference for sons.
Hindus generally tend to support abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at risk or when the fetus has a life threatening developmental anomaly.
The decision for or against an abortion is not simple or easy, yet it is a fact of modern life. It is a decision with no middle ground and no means of undoing. Each person needs to come to their own decision concerning abortions based upon their own religion, its practicality, and morality.