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Religion and Abortion: Condemning Or Accepting It

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Since early human society was formed, all religions have taken their own stance on how they view and address abortion. This topic is extremely controversial, and there are several factors that can shape the opinions of each religious group. Many of those factors include issues such as whether it is morally correct or not, the issue of death, and the human to human relationship. According to Harvard Health Publishing, June 2019, “Abortion is the removal of pregnancy tissue, products of conception or the fetus and placenta from the uterus. In general, the terms fetus and placenta are used after eight weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy tissue and products of conception refer to tissue produced by the union of an egg and sperm before eight weeks (Pendick).”

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The teachings of Abortion is often based on Religion. Although every Religion has been taught to believe a specific thing about abortion, not everyone within those religious groups practices what they are taught. When it comes to abortion, Religious teachings are definitely an influencing factor on the individual who is contemplating or wishing to know more about this subject. At the end of the day, it also is a personal decision and everyone has their own opinions on what's right and what's wrong. Catholicism is the religion that teaches and feels the strongest about abortion. The teachings are different for each Religion and some are more strict than others.

The Catholic religion, which counts 1.25 billion followers around the world, is perhaps the strictest of all religions when it comes to this subject. Over the course of several hundred years, the Catholic Church has been focused on its protection of human life, from conception until natural death. Modern Catholics are taught and still believe and support those teachings. These influences often start at home and are passed down from parents to children. In addition, Catholics learn this subject by reading and studying the bible. The enforcement of this belief is then carried into the mass, where the priests cite the bible and provide their insights as to why this is such an important subject. “The Church embraces and stands up for the lives of all the unborn while offering hope and healing to parents who have chosen to abort their unborn children. As Catholics, we have the responsibility to spread Christ’s message about the dignity of all human life to our culture (Abby Johnson).”

Another large and powerful Religion that teaches and shares a similar Religious stance like the Catholic Church on abortion is Islam, which is the largest Religion in the world. Just like the Bible teaches about abortion, the Qur’an speaks about this subject in relation to guidance on morality regarding abortion. Abortion is seen as wrong and harmful to the mother but allows any cases where the mother or child is endangered. Even though they permit abortion in most cases they still believe it is rightfully wrong. “In Egypt (where abortion is illegal) in June 2004, Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, approved a draft law allowing women to abort a pregnancy that is the result of rape (Naughtie).” This change by the government in Egypt signifies that they recognize that there may be certain circumstances for why abortion may be needed.

Hinduism, with approximately 1.15 billion around the world, also has strong beliefs about abortion. There are two different types of Hindu followers with slightly different views on abortion. They all generally believe that the killing of a fetus is wrong, except for cases of when the mother’s life is potentially in danger. For example, Classic Hindus are highly opposed to abortion, they believe that it is synonymous with the killing of priests and worse than the killing of their own child. Whereas traditional Hindus have the belief that it is their duty to nurture and grow the family unit for society and the world. “Many Hindus regard the production of offspring as a 'public duty', not simply an 'individual expression of personal choice' (see Lipner, 'The classical Hindu view on abortion and the moral status of the unborn' 1989) (Johnson).” However, in some countries like India, there is a religious ban on abortion which can be overruled by the cultural choice for having a son. This can lead to the abortion of females which is called “female foeticide”. Furthermore, Hinduism ties the fetus to the soul, according to their beliefs when it comes to reincarnation a fetus is not a person but does in fact contain a reborn soul and therefore treated kindly.” The soul remembers its past lives during the last month the fetus spends in the womb. These memories are destroyed during the trauma of birth (Garbha Upanishad).” Hindus also tie karma to abortion. The belief that aborting a fetus they are destroying the possibility of the existence of another life is karma.

The subject of abortion is a highly contested matter. While some who believe there is no God, are more inclined to believe that abortion is permissible. While others such as Catholics, Hindus, and Buhdits are completely opposed to abortion. It is evident that religion does in fact tie into the beliefs or disbelief of abortion. One thing is certain, that the subject of abortion is still highly controversial and will remain so for many years to come.

Work cited

  1. Caballero-Reynolds, Andrew. “10 Things You Need to Know About Abortion Laws in the US.” Amnesty International, 2019, www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/06/abortion-laws-in-the-us-10-things-you-need-to-know/.
  2. Frederico, Mónica, et al. “Factors Influencing Abortion Decision-Making Processes among Young Women.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, MDPI, 13 Feb. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5858398/.
  3. Masci, David. “Abortion.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 22 Jan. 2018, www.pewresearch.org/topics/abortion/.
  4. “10 Things You Need to Know About Abortion Laws in the US.” Amnesty International,www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5858398 /.
  5. “Views about Abortion - Religion in America: U.S. Religious Data,www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/views-about-abortion/.
  6. Rich, Alex K., and Geraldine Wagner. “Abortion Debate.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2019. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=t6o&AN=89158038
  7. Naughtie, James. “Ethics - Abortion: Selective Abortion.” BBC, BBC, 2018, www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/medical/selective_1.shtml.    

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