Abortion has been on the hot seat of the world’s moral and cultural debate. All the same, the different cultures and religions from around the world have amazingly co-existed regardless of their differences in the views about abortion. Let’s find out what these 14 cultures and religious sects around the globe have to say about abortion.
In Buddhism, a lot of views may vary between different regions from which they originate, which may result in a lot of conflicting information. However, the general consensus is that abortion is considered a grave issue, which may result in karmic consequences in the future.
However, in Tibetan Buddhism, those who commit the crime are shown mercy. Instead of imposing harsh punishments, they believe that such people should be guided in performing good deeds and religious acts so as to compensate for the grave offense.
In some sects, such as modern Buddhism, the act can be considered as reasonably acceptable if it concerns the life, health, and well-being of the mother.
According to Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, if you abort a child, that child will live with murders. That what he wrote in his book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”
This religion teaches that abortion or merely the attempt thereof can pose trauma to the unborn child in both physical and spiritual aspects. This view of Hubbard has largely affected the belief of Scientology practitioners, which means that they rarely practice abortion, mostly if it concerns the health and life of the mother.
Much as its name suggests, this religious organization is far from being pro-life. The CoE’s motto Save the Planet, Kill Yourself already says much about their take on abortion as they are favor of massive population reduction.
They believe the Earth needs to restore its balance in terms of the population of humans and other species. Among the religion’s pillars is that of free abortion, which they consider a religious sacrament since the one commandment they stand for is thou shalt not procreate.
You can find their very interesting FAQ section here.
The Jain Dharma is an ancient Indian religion (a branch of Hinduism) that imposes on the principle of nonviolence towards all living things, or ahinsa as they call it. They believe that one should cause no harm on any living thing, otherwise bad karma will be upon those who do. For them, all life is sacred.
Although in cases where harm is inevitable, Jains opt for the best resolution where harm is reduced to a minimal level. If having an abortion would prevent greater harm to the mother, Jains would consider it as a fair and justifiable option.
Also called Pagan witchcraft, Wicca is a decentralized religion constitute from the Witches Rede. They live by the proverb do what thou wilt. Since there is no Pagan manual, this prompts Wiccans to give value to personal responsibility.
On the note of abortion in particular, opinions may vary among them. Some Wiccans may be against abortion since it would negate the Witches Rede; while some are pro-choice, as they believe that a woman has full responsibility of her own body.
Much like the Roman Catholic faith, The Church of England condemns abortion. They say it goes against moral law. However, much like other religions, there are certain exceptional conditions under which abortion can be deemed acceptable, like when it’s a threat to the well-being of the pregnant mother.
In this monotheistic religion (practiced mostly in India), taking any form of life is definitely a no-no as it interferes with God’s creative work. In Sikhism, they believe in one God who is the author of life. Furthermore, they consider life to begin at every conception.
The reason why abortion is forbidden among Sikhs is because they believe that abortion, among other fatal acts, is simply a deed that puts an end to life. In Sikhism, they strongly consider it a sin against the life giver.
Despite women across America having the constitutional right to legal abortions, the indigenous women of America were not granted this right. One report by Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center, abortions are refused to Native American women. The Indian Health Service will not provide this service, even if they are legally entitled elsewhere.
Due to the historical accounts of the Native Americans, they still experience cultural discrimination, such as below-standard education, poverty, and violence to be specific. In effect, the indigenous women of their community are also affected by various factors, such as sexual assault and rape.
Thus, these factors are the same grounds for these women to have no control over their reproductive health and rights, which explains an increasing number of unplanned pregnancies, that lead to their inclination towards abortion.
Protestantism is perhaps one of the most decentralized religious traditions in the world. This is why there is a strong resentment among one faction of its practitioners regarding abortion; the other faction vehemently supports it. Officially, the Protestant faith does not have any position on abortion.
In Jewish teachings, the practice of abortion has been adjudicated through the contexts of their Hebrew Bible known as the Talmud.
In one verse from the book of Exodus in Talmud, the message is an eye for an eye. Although this text does not directly speak about abortion per se, it may depict that if any harm is caused to the unborn child or the mother, one shall have to pay for it. However, the Jewish law deems it legal to perform an abortion in any case that doing so would prevent threats in the life of a mother.
Taoism, being one of the five religious sects legitimately recognized in China, has its own context of teachings and ethics which is influenced by the Taoist’s scriptures Lao Tse's Treatise on the Response of the Tao.
Taoists believe in the interdependence and balance of both good and bad principles of all things. The Taoists take on abortion does not encourage it if not necessary. Their way is to let the natural events of life--being and not being--happen and not get in the way.
However, Taoists deem abortion as justifiable if the circumstances require it. More so, their social culture values balance, particularly in family planning. In their belief, having more than one child disrupts the scales.
In the Islamic belief, abortion is highly forbidden but with specific reservations. There are variations on the Islamic views about abortion depending on the teachings of a particular school of Muslim law.
Some schools permit abortion within the span of four months, as they believe an unborn child gains its soul after 16 weeks of conception; others only permit it within the first seven weeks of conception.
In cases of abortion after four months, the schools of Muslim law deems it acceptable when the pregnant mother's health is at risk. Furthermore, in cases of pregnancy due to rape, the same pre-soul abortion stage can be applicable but beyond that period, aborting the fetus would be a grave sin.
This religion is very popular in China, and its ethical codes do not clearly forbid abortion. However, abortion is still looked down upon even today among most Chinese, even though abortion was something that was done by ancient Chinese women quite regularly. The only time abortion is encouraged is when it threatens the health of the mother.
Even so, with growing awareness among the masses, abortion is considered increasingly acceptable among the average Chinese citizen.
In Hinduism, violence or hinsa (and thus murder) is looked down upon in every form except self-defense or war. This is also the reason why a large number of Hindus are vegetarians. Their core philosophy is nonviolence or ahinsa.
It is no wonder that in the very, very old scriptures of Hinduism called the Vedas, it says that abortion or “garha-batta” has the same crime weight as that of the murder of one’s parents. However, this rule is for married couples and the best way for them to atone for their sins is to adopt an orphan and look after the child as their own. The only exception to abortion is when the mother’s life is in danger.
However, according to Hinduism, a fetus is to be treated as a living being. The Garbha Upanishad or the Esoteric Doctrine of the Embryo focuses solely on medical themes revolving around the human embryo. This book mentions the seventh month, and how life, known as the jivan, goes into the body. This means, before that, the fetus cannot be deemed alive or a human, in which case aborting it would not be a sin.
Disclaimer: Please know that all information was procured after spending quite some time on various websites on the internet. We understand and accept the fact the information procured may not be 100% correct because of the sheer number of varying views religions and cultures have on abortion.
So, if we’ve shared incorrect or incomplete information, do take the time to let us know in the comments below.