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What do the five major world religions teach or believe about abortion? This is the question we will examine here. But first we will examine the current state of affairs as it concerns the United States and abortion laws.

On January 22, 1973 The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the state of Texas did not have a right under the constitution to limit a woman's request for abortion. The opinion in this case attempting to balance a woman's rights to privacy over the state's rights to make laws stated that the state of Texas did not have standing until after the woman's pregnancy had passed the first trimester. However, as history has proven, this opinion has been used to justify abortion for any reason throughout the entire pregnancy, even up until the moment of birth.

The Supreme Court claimed that the woman's right to abort her child was protected under the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In Courts and Congress: America's Unwritten Constitution, By William J. Quirk, Quirk argues that the Supreme Court is not supreme, but that congress has the ultimate authority to make and codify law, a view to which I hold. In my opinion the Supreme Court of the United State never had the authority to decide that abortion was a right under any amendment of the constitution and that doing so overruled states rights. For more on that, read this article here on Mises

Christianity 

The majority of Americans believe in one true God and the majority of Americans are Christians. We will look at the Christian religion and what the Bible teaches about abortion specifically or the murder of the child in the womb.

There is no question according to the Bible that God is the creator of all life. 

Genesis 2: 7, "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

And Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." 

Also there is no question that, according to the Bible, unborn children are considered human beings, created by God and made in His Image. 

Job 33:4 says, "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." 

Psalm 139:13 "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb." 

Exodus 20:21 states, "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine."

It is clear that according to the Bible which is the basis of the Christian religion, killing a child in the womb is against God's Law and indeed is the murder of God in the womb since we were made in God's image and likeness and are therefore extensions of God in the flesh.

The Christian religion is the most widely practiced religion in the world with almost a third of the World's population, about 2.3 billion adherents. The United States is around 80% Christian with about 228.1 million, followed by Brazil and Mexico with the next largest Christian populations respectively.

Islam 

The religion of Islam has the second largest following in the world with about 1.8 billion followers. The largest population of Muslims is found in Indonesia, followed by Pakistan and India. There are about 3.5 million Muslims living in the United States.

From Islamcan.com:

"The right to life is God-given. No human should take away that right. The general rule, therefore, is that abortion is not permitted in Islam. However, Islam is a very practical religion. It includes principles to deal with exceptional cases. One such principle is that when a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, an abortion may be performed. Although the lives of both mother and child are sacred, in this case it is better to save the principal life, the life of the mother. Even in this case, it would be better if the abortion is done before the foetus is 120 days old, for that is when the soul is breathed into the foetus. Islam does not permit abortion in other cases."

Islam places very high value on human life and considers that a parent who kills their children will receive the judgment and that the children will be a part of that judgment. According to Qu'ran 5:32, it is unlawful to kill anyone except in the case of one who has murdered another. This is similar to capital punishment. Here is a the verse from the Qu'ran: 

Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidences, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allah by committing the major sins) in the land!.

Hinduism 

Hinduism is considered the world's oldest religion and has the third largest numbers of followers with more than 1 billion worldwide. India has the largest Hindu population, followed by Nepal and Indonesia. In the United States there are approximately 2.3 million adherents of Hinduism.

From Modern Guide to Hinduism:

"Hindus believe that it is acceptable to choose the action that will do the least amount of harm to the people involved: the mother and father, the child and society. Hence, Hinduism is generally opposed to abortion unless it is necessary to save the mother's life. Ahimsa (non-violence) teaches that it is wrong not only to kill living beings, but to also to kill embryos, therefore, it is usually best not to have an abortion unless having a child brings up major health concerns for the mother. Hindu texts are strongly opposed to abortion: one text compares abortion to the killing of a priest, another text considers abortion a worse sin than killing one's parents, another text says that a woman who aborts her child will lose her caste. Another reason many Hindus are opposed to abortion is that many of them regard having kids as a duty to society rather than a personal choice. The belief in reincarnation can be used to make a strong argument against abortion: If a fetus is aborted, the soul within it suffers a karmic setback. It is deprived of the opportunities its potential human existence would have given it to earn good karma, and is returned immediately to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Thus abortion hinders a soul's spiritual progress. With all of this in mind, people might not be sure why abortion is even legal in India. Abortion is practiced in Hindu culture in India, because the religious ban on abortion is sometimes overruled by the cultural preference for sons. This can lead to abortion for the purpose of preventing the birth of girl babies, which is called 'female feticide'. This also happens in countries such as China who also prefer to raise male children. This is an additional controversy and debate based on morals. On the contrary, reincarnation can also be used to make a case that abortion should be permitted. Under the doctrine of reincarnation, abortion only deprives the soul of one of many births that it will have. The consequences of abortion are therefore not as bad as they are in those religions where a soul gets only one chance to be born and where abortion deprives the soul of all possibility of life. Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa (non-violence). All life is sacred because all creatures are manifestations of Brahman."

Hindus believe that there is one true God, the supreme spirit, called Brahman. Brahman has many forms, pervades the whole universe, and is symbolized by the sacred syllable Om (or Aum). Most Hindus believe that Brahman is present in every person as the eternal spirit or soul, called the Atman, therefore abortion can be interpreted to mean the killing of God in the womb.

Buddhism 

Buddhism is the fourth oldest known religion in the world as well as the fourth in terms of numbers of followers, with nearly 500 million adherents world wide. In the United States there are about 6.4 million followers of Buddha.

From Tricycle.org

"The first of the five precepts—the essential guidelines for Buddhist ethics—is to abstain from taking life. The Buddha laid out a set of conditions that constitute the act of killing: Was the act intentional? Was an effort to kill exerted? Abortion does fulfill those conditions and thus violates the first precept.

"According to Buddhist teachings, life—rebirth—begins at conception. In the traditional view, whether or not an embryo or fetus can survive on its own, it is a sentient being whose spiritual progress is thwarted by an abortion. Both the mother and whoever performs the abortion generate negative karma as a result, too.

"Like most fraught moral issues, abortion has inspired much Buddhist debate over the centuries, and many contemporary Buddhists have sought a flexible approach. But as Damien Keown, a British bioethicist, put it, "Buddhism cannot offer a middle way on abortion, because it has already taken sides.""

I have observed that many modern westernized Buddhists believe in allowing women to make the decision to abort their children. I find this unfortunate because it obviously violates the Buddhist precept of refraining from taking life. I think this illustrates a common theme throughout society to find "loop holes" in religion that allow for abortion, even when the religious teachings they follow clearly oppose it.

Judaism 

Judaism is the second oldest religion in the world, having come into practice some say around 640 BC. There are around 15 million adherents world wide which includes approximately 5.7 million in the United States.

I have observed that many who practice modern secular and even conservative Judaism take a very liberal view on abortion. Some Jewish scholars and orthodox Rabbis believe that these represent nearly completely different religions.

From Human Life International:

"The Jewish faith is based upon a body of Commandments that include the seven Noahide Laws and the 613 parochial commandments. These laws are interpreted (but not altered) by a vast body of rabbinic opinions and case law referred to as Halakhah (the Talmud).

"The seven Noahide Laws are universal, in that they apply to everyone, Jew or Gentile.

"Bereshis 9:6 contains the seven commandments of Bnei Noach, which are:

    1. Thou shalt not engage in idol worship
    2. Thou shalt not blaspheme God
    3. Thou shalt not kill
    4. Thou shalt not engage in incestuous, adulterous, or homosexual relations, nor commit the act of rape
    5. Thou shalt not steal
    6. Thou shalt establish laws and courts of law to administer these laws
    7. Thou shalt not be cruel to animals

"The primary objective of the parochial commandments in the Torah (the five books of Moses) is to support and preserve the seven Noahide laws. They are therefore not universally binding on all people. Some examples of these parochial commandments are: do not randomly cut down trees (Deuteronomy 20:19); do not randomly castrate animals (Leviticus 22:24); and Jewish men who are sterilized are cast out of the community (Deuteronomy 23:2).

"The Third Noahide Law contains the admonition, "He who spills the blood of a man in a man, his blood will be spilt." The Talmud (Sanhedrin 57b) defines "a man in a man" as a preborn baby in his mother's womb. This passage specifically states that abortion is a capital crime, a view supported by one of the leading sages of the Talmud, Rabbi Yishmael.

"In his interpretation of the Third Noahide Law, Maimonides, the great twelfth‑century interpreter and codifier of Jewish law, writes in his Mishneh Torah that abortion is a capital crime for the Jews: "A descendant of Noah who kills any human being, even a fetus in its mother's womb, is to be put to death."

"Maimonides ruled that abortion is allowable only if the pregnancy definitely and without question endangers the life of the mother (Hilkhot Rozeah 1:9 and Shulhan Arukh Hoshen Mishpat 425:2): This also is a negative precept: not to have compassion on the life of a pursuer. Therefore, the Sages' rules [regarding] a pregnant woman in hard travail that it is permitted to dismember the fetus in her womb, whether by chemical means or by hand, for it [the fetus] is as one pursuing her in order to kill her.

"Chief Rabbi Dr. Immanual Jakabovits outlined the foundation of the reasoning behind this statement when he said, "Jewish law sees every human life as having the sanctity of intrinsic and infinite worth. One life has as much value as one hundred or one thousand; you cannot multiply infinity and you cannot divide it. So every human being has an identical worth and is identically worth saving.""

Conclusion 

Through careful examination the 5 top major religions of the world I conclude that throughout history until mostly modern times, it is clear that these religions taught that it was immoral and wrong to kill an unborn child, giving the unborn child almost universally the same level of recognition in terms of its humanity as a born human being. Many religions believe that the unborn child "represents" God in the womb and that killing that child is a crime against God.

What drives this idea that abortion is a fundamental right of woman to kill her unborn child is clearly nothing more than a certain level of narcissistic self interest that has nothing to do with their religion or their God. Indeed all major religions at their foundation teach compassion and deference toward all life, unselfishness and kindness. 

The guidelines and commandments of various religious orders maintain them in order to create societies of peace and prosperity for their communities and people. Whether you are an adherent of Christianity or Buddhism, Islam, Judaism or Hinduism or of many other religious orders not specifically covered here, it is clear that if a person is a true aspirant of any of those religions, you could not submit to or allow abortion except in the case that the life of the mother is truly in immediate and imminent danger.

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