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Abortion: An Islamic Ethical View

Author: Kiarash Aramesh
Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Medical Sciences/ University of Tehran, Iran;

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The debate over abortion remains controversial as ever. This article offers an explanation
of the main Islamic attitudes towards abortion and areas of need to change in the related
rules and regulations in Islamic communities with a special attention to Iran.
A selected collection of Islamic references, as well as discussions with experts have been
used as a basis for discussion and interpretation of Islamic views.
Almost all of Muslim scholars and authorities regard ethical dilemmas surrounding
abortion as jurisprudential topics. Obviously, all schools of Islamic jurisprudence regard
abortion as wrong and forbidden (Hiram). On the other hand, they allow abortion, before
the point in time in which the ensoulment takes place, only when physicians declare with
reasonable certainty that the continuation of pregnancy will endanger the woman’s life or put
her in intolerable difficulties. The Iranian parliament has ratified the Therapeutic Abortion
Act, by which, therapeutic abortion should be based on diagnosis of such fetal or maternal
diseases that go ahead to unbearable burden for the mother or endangering her health.
The Therapeutic Abortion Act can be considered as a significant improvement regarding
women’s health in an Islamic country. Such improvements show the inherent and valuable
flexibility of Islamic jurisprudence encountering new emerging