The main objective of this research is to find out recent issue related to abortion and to analyze the argument from different religious and modernization. The research is important because abortion has become a current and a crucial issue around the world. Many countries have legalized abortion while some country have banned. Religious belief is one of the vital role players regarding abortion. Religious is one of the main parts of the people’s life which help to guide people, and many decision are based on religious beliefs. Almost everyone in the world follows religiously. And almost all religious seem to in contradiction of abortion, but why the reality is just opposite? Why abortion rate is increasing every year and everywhere? This research intends to focus on some of the major argument and beliefs regarding abortion by different religious prospective and the current thoughts scholars. However, this research does not focus on a specific solution of the problem because it is still ongoing debate and there are many solution given by different prospective, but obviously, it tries to suggest some possible solutions as a conclusion.
2. Problem definition
Abortion is an extremely controversial issue in all parts of the world. With the technology invention, abortion rates have increased. At the same time it has become a big issue in most of the countries. According to Wikipedia, “Abortion is the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability”, (“Abortion, n.d”). It means it is act of killing the future baby while he/she is in the mother’s womb. Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that in the US around 1,212,400 abortion take place annually (United States Abortion Statistics, 2011). There is much higher rate in the order parts of the world. Moreover, the issue is, even in this rea many abortion are being done unsafely. According to the World Health Organization, in 2008, around 21.6 million unsafe abortion took place worldwide, almost all in Developing countries which caused 13% maternal death (Reproductive Health Research Policy Brief, 2011). It shows that the thread of abortion is very big in term of mother’s health. The rate
Of abortion among marriage and non-marriage are about equal portion. Among the non-marriage teenagers and students are the most. The activity has caused health problem among themselves as well as brought a big threat to society. Especially, in those Asian countries that precisely are male dominant, tent to do more abortion if the fetus is a girl. In many case even the mothers do not want to make abortion, due to family’s pressure she has to do it. This paper focus on what religious fail to teach or advocate about abortion. The argument, beliefs and the reality with criticizes will be discussed in Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.
The foremost idea would be present be pressed as a view of Hinduism. In general, Hinduism opposes abortion except to save the life of the mother. Hinduism position is said not be based on the idea of universal right or in social good, but the idea about reincarnation, caste, and righteous duty (Moad, 2011). They believe that the soul is joined with the matter in the act of conception which mean abortion is to kill someone regardless how many days or month is the age of the fetus. Moreover, they believe that the purpose of life is to make progress towards liberation through rebirth that can be disturb by abortion, that’s why it is prohibited. One of the priests Swami Kamalatmananda said “No human being has the right to destroy the human fetus. If having a baby is economically and socially problematic, one can well take precaution to avoid such unwanted birth rather than killing the baby. Precaution is better than destruction.” (Vasu 7 Derr). Yet, the reality is totally different from its prospective and morality. In India, the total population is around 1.22 billion among them 80.5% are Hindus (Hindus population in India, 2012). The statistic shows that in India around eleven (11) million abortion take place causing about twenty thousand (20,000) maternal death per year. What is the main reason easier to perform, in addition, some who favor abortion argues that if there is no abortion the population would reach double already. The argument goes further saying, one of the biggest current issues around the world is, overpopulation, then why everyone is blaming abortion? Likewise, some believe that religion cannot be suitable in many issues that are current because religious is based on very ancient thought. Hence, there are so many new generation who do not want to follow old rituals. Besides, some of the Hindus who follow the region also perform abortion due to their cultural belief. In Hinduism, there is case and they believe that when they die there should be his/her son to send to the heaven, so that gender selective abortion are taking place in most of the Hindu people. Consequently, even though Hinduism opposes abortion, there are many unavoidable issues that bring upon the abortion rate very high.
What about the Buddhism? The answer is the similar as Hinduism. Buddhism believes and promotes. Ahimsa (precept that one should do no harm) and argues that abortion violated the religious precepts which is also concludes that abortion is an acts which brings karmic suffering in its wake (Law, 2006). It says that the abortion cannot be accepted in the society. But then when we see in reality the situation are on the contrary to the teaching. Thailand, where around ninety- five (95%) percent population is Buddhist, around 300.000 illegal abortion takes place even abortion is banned (United Nation). It indicates that even government tries to prevent abortion by making law, illegal abortion are taking place in very high rate. So, the practice of the religion and reality is totally different. In Thailand many illegal abortion clinic can be found throughout the country. Furthermore, there has been many debates and demand for the legalization of abortion. It is shown that abortion are high rate especially in the rural areas; one of shocking news is that in 2010 more than 2000 illegally abortion fetuses were found at Wat Phai Ngan temple in Bangkok (Palatino, 2010). The issue show that the people do not want the policy of banning abortion in Thailand. Thailand is just an example of such issues but other traditional Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Bhutan the problem is same. Everywhere the issue is taking a big part of the argument. Most of the argument favoring abortion is freedom of choice. Every single person has his/her freedom to choose what to do and what not to. There should be a limitation of freedom but abortion is harming nobody except the mother. So, if the mother choose to preform abortion then nobody’s nose should be in her business.
According to Muslim belief it is haram (unlawful) to harm others. But, there is a certain period abortion. According to a Muslim scholar al-Kawthari, the soul of Islam is thought to enter the fetus after four month; therefore, abortion after four month is considered murder (al –Kawthari). It does not mean that all Islam promotes abortion before four month, but it may be acceptable if there is a serious problem regarding mother’s and child’s health. However some of the scholar give view based on juristic principle the states. “ if one is confronted by two evils, one should choose the lesser of the”, by all means, in some case if the mother’s life is in grave danger, abortion after 120 days can be permissible. Do people act according to what religion teach? That is difficult to say. A study that in Pakistan around 890,000 abortion occur in Pakistan every year (Hussein, 2012). Moreover, most of the abortion are carried out in an unsafe manner causing high maternal death. Pakistan is an Islamic country with 98% Muslim population. Most of the Muslim countries banned abortion as an illegal act. But the problem of abortion is becoming worse almost everywhere. Some of the examples are Bangladesh, Iran, and Indonesia where illegal abortion is increasing causing high maternal death. So, what is the root problem? Many causes are influenced by western concepts of liberalization. Not only in Muslim countries but every nation is losing its own value due to western influence. It cannot be said the western influence is bad but there should be limits. The world is changing in many different prospective. So, the values of human life created by ancestors are being neglected day by day. But people believe that religion only argues based on ethical values favoring the fetus’s life. But there is less concern about consequences. The future of the fetus itself can be terrible if there was not abortion which religion fails to provoke. So, banning abortion cannot be an option to stop the increasing rate of abortion worldwide.
What can be the solution? Many scholar give their opinion to focus on prevention. Good sex education and family planning can help to reduce the abortion. But those argument seem not to be working because nowadays almost every country has good education systems. Moreover, there are many pregnancies prevent tools are available with advertisement. But still the abortion rate is high it means abortion can be considered an unstoppable habit human has learned.
On the other hand those who oppose abortion, argues that abortion should be banned to save the life of the women, and to preserve physical and mental health of women. In many cases abortion took the life of the mother. It also hazards physical health of women. They may not have another baby in the future which causes bigger tension in the family. But, such situations occur especially if the abortion is done unsafely which most likely to happen where abortion is banned. Additionally, there are certain issues that are rising, especially in those countries where abortion is banned. One of the major issues is babies dumping. In Malaysia baby dumping is increasing each year (Razali, 2012). Similarly, in Iran, Thailand, and some other countries are facing a big problem of dumping of the baby. There is need of justification which is worse abortion or dumping. In most of the cases baby dumping can be worse because it harms future of the society. If there is an abortion, most probably only the mother’s health can be less affected but, if there is a dumping then the government or society need to take care of the baby if the baby could survive. Some argue that adaptation can work but it is not an easy process and the probability of being adopted for a dumped baby id more likely to be less. Some, mothers take responsibility of keeping the baby but then there are so many cases that they have ended up with single mothers. Being a single mother is not only difficult mentally but also physically. Women with baby may not have enough money to raise them so they should face difficulties that cause less love than they need. Moreover, they would not have better possibility to improve themselves both from a social side, and economic side. Hence, ending up as a criminal can be very high in such case. Therefore, the result of one act: banning abortion has many negative impacts: suffering for the baby, for the parents, and for the society in the long term, hereafter, abortion should be allowed.
This research concludes that there is some ethical value taught by every religion but the new generations seem to have less faith in the teaching and moral values of the religion. Also, the religious values are not suitable in some of the current issues that are faced by this era. Although, there have been some new scholars in each religion to justify the value in new prospective, it does not seem to help especially in abortion cases. New generations would like to experience new things. Moreover, they are capable of judging issues from different prospective that can be a broader aspect than religion. So, banning abortion is not a solution but creates more problems. A better solution can be to advocate education and provide sufficient healthcare services for everyone.
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