Skip to Main Content

Ethical Topics: Abortion


Catholic Viewpoint


Jeremiah 1:5, Galatians 1:15, Psalm 139:13, 16, Isaiah 44:2, Psalm 127:3, Job 12:10

Abortion: Other Religious Viewpoints


  • Hindu scriptures, the Vedas and the Upanisads strongly condemn abortion
  • Early Sruti texts attested that the foetus in the womb deserves protection because it is argued that the soul exists from the moment of conception
  • Hindus view the foetus as a person in the making
  • In this sense abortion is seen to violate both karma and dharma and is generally reprehensible


  • The scriptures make some allowances where abortion may be permissible
  • In the Susruta Samhita, a classical medical text within the Hindu tradition, it is suggested that abortion was permissible if it meant saving the mother’s life
  • In contemporary situations utilitarian and practical considerations tend to override religious principles and beliefs
  • Theories of kharma and dharma are given new interpretations
  • More broadly, in modern India, abortion is permitted by law in certain circumstances such as pregnancy due to rape or  in cases on severe physical disabilities where the child to be born will be irreparably and seriously handicapped. (R.D. Ganga:p: 183)

The above summary is from the text below:


Romila Devi Ganga

PHD Thesis, University of South Africa

November 1994

Non-religious views on abortion

Ireland referendum on abortion

Access The Tablet though MCC subscription.

Automatic logon on-site

See Learning Commons staff for username and password for off-site access.

Irish referendum 
Where the abortion debate was lost 
Politicians and the media on both sides of the Irish Sea have greeted the result of the Irish abortion referendum as if it were a triumph of good over evil – the enlightened cause of female emancipation and empowerment taking a giant step forward against the forces of patriarchal oppression. And it suits its enemies that the Catholic Church had positioned itself firmly on the losing side, so that it has just suffered a satisfyingly decisive humiliation. But this interpretation is tendentious, less than half the truth. 
The critical moment for the Church in Ireland is not the vote itself but the aftermath. All is not yet lost, but easily could be. (The Tablet)

Abortion: background


The abortion debate asks whether it can be morally right to terminate a pregnancy before normal childbirth.

Some people think that abortion is always wrong. Some think that abortion is right when the mother's life is at risk. Others think that there is a range of circumstances in which abortion is morally acceptable.