The Moral Status of Abortion in Islam: A Comparative Study of Muslim and Western Normative Ethics Regarding the Act of Terminating the Life of A Foetus


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Abstract
In the West there seems to be a clear cut-line between the proponents and opponents of abortion. The former tend to justify their choice by calling for consequentialistic arguments, while the latter are, in huge majority, deontologists. The issue of abortion has been long debated in Islam. Those debates however lacked in intensity and rabidity when compared with their Western counterparts. This article is an attempt to compare the two standpoints and point at the reasons of that discrepancy. The paper begins with a description of two Western ethical frameworks: consequentialism and deontology, which then are linked with two contradictory attitudes toward abortion, i.e. utilitarianism based pro-choice and deontological pro-life that perceives abortion as murder.The nature of Islamic ethics, akhlāk, is elucidated in the next part of the paper. The main sources of moral conduct, i.e., the Qur’ān and the Sunnahare presented and the main concepts, including ḥarām(forbidden) or ḥalāl(allowed) are explained.The forth part deals with moral status of terminating the life of a foetus in Islam. There is a reference to the sources of the creed, namely the Qur’ān, the most relevant ḥadīth and fatwas. There are arguments provided for and against abortion, including the one due to social reasons before the 120th day of pregnancy and a total prohibition after this date.The article is concluded with the statement that various ethical approaches to abortion area manifestation of somewhat different ways of moral reasoning between the West and the Islamic world.
Keywords abortion  ethics  foetus  islam  Muslim normative ethics  Western Normative Ethics
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References found in this work BETA

Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Indianapolis: Oxford University Press.
Kant’s Ethical Thought. [REVIEW]Stephen Engstrom - 2002 - Journal of Philosophy 99 (3):149-152.
Kant’s Ethical Thought.Allen W. Wood - 1999 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 62 (4):758-759.
The Right Not to Be Born.Vardit Rispler-Chaim - 2003 - In Jonathan E. Brockopp (ed.), Islamic Ethics of Life: Abortion, War, and Euthanasia. University of South Carolina Press.

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