Abortion and Protection of the Human Fetus: Religious and Legal Problems in Pakistan by ProQuest


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									Vol. 15:2 (2009)

Abortion and Protection of the Human
Fetus: Religious and Legal Problems in
M U H A M M A D I LYA S * , M U K H TA R A L A M * , H A B I B A H M A D * A N D S A J I D -
U L- G H A F O O R *
* Department of Genetics, Hazara University Mansehra, NWFP, PAKISTAN
Correspondence: Dr. Mukhtar Alam, Visiting Faculty, Member Department of Genetics/Director
Research and Planning, Hazara University Mansehra, PAKISTAN
Email: rp.director@gmail.com

Abortion is the most common and controversial issue in many parts of the world.
Approximately 46 million abortions are performed worldwide every year. The world
ratio is 26 induced abortions per 100 known pregnancies. Pakistan has an estimated
abortion rate of 29 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, despite the procedure
being illegal except to save a woman’s life. 890,000 abortions are performed annually in
Pakistan. Many government and non-government organizations are working on the issue
of abortion. Muslim jurists are unanimous in declaring that after the fetus is completely
formed and has been given a soul, abortion is haram (forbidden).

Key Words: PRO-LIFE, PRO-CHOICE, haram, fatawa, illegal births, Isqat-i-Haml

“An abortion is the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting
in or caused by its death”; or it is “the destruction of the fetus or unborn child while the
child is still in the mother’s womb” [1].
   Medically, it is defined as miscarriage or induced termination before twenty weeks’
gestation, which is considered nonviable.
    Abortion can be caused by almost anyone from the mother herself to back alley
abortions and even to “abortion clinics” set up especially for this purpose. “There are
two sides to this abortion debate i.e. the PRO-LIFE groups which consist of those people
who are against abortion altogether; and the PRO-CHOICE groups consisting of people
who believe it is the woman’s right to choose if she wants to have an abortion” [2]. The
moral, religious and legal aspects of abortion are subject to intense debate in many parts
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