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Abortion--forbidden, discouraged, or permitted? 
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Is abortion forbidden in the Baha'i Faith, or discouraged, or a "personal choice" of the woman?


Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:36 pm
Post Number:#2  Post 
Abortion is not favored in the Baha'i Faith. Theorhetically we should only have intercourse when we are married, if a child is incepted out of wedlock they still are not encouraged to abort.


Fri Apr 23, 2004 2:12 pm
Post Number:#3  Post 
So, it is discouraged, but permitted; a personal choice of the women!


Omid wrote:
Abortion is not favored in the Baha'i Faith. Theorhetically we should only have intercourse when we are married, if a child is incepted out of wedlock they still are not encouraged to abort.


Fri Apr 23, 2004 5:05 pm
Post Number:#4  Post 
I have read that it is absoulutly forbidden now. By Shoghi Effendi, type it in on google.


Sat May 08, 2004 7:27 pm

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
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Post Number:#5  Post 
"Abortion merely to prevent the birth of an unwanted child is strictly forbidden in the Cause. There may, however, be instances in which an abortion would be justified by medical reasons, and legislation on this matter has been left to the Universal House of Justice. At the present time, however, the House of Justice does not intend to legislate on this very delicate issue, and therefore it is left to the consciences of those concerned who must carefully weigh the medical advice in the light of the general guidance given in the teachings."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Ireland, March 16, 1983; quoted in Lights of Guidance, no. 1154)


Sun May 09, 2004 12:23 am
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"The practice of abortion--which is absolutely criminal as it involves the deliberate destruction of human life--is forbidden in the Cause". (Shoghi Effendi to an individual believers, 25 Aug. 1939)



Anonymous wrote:
I have read that it is absoulutly forbidden now. By Shoghi Effendi, type it in on google.


Fri May 21, 2004 5:31 pm

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
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Post Number:#7  Post 
One other quote FYI which might not be in other compilations on abortion:

"You cite the case of Bahá'ís in other fields of expertise, such as Bahá'í physicians who, you say, "may pursue their professions as Bahá'ís with no prospect of interference by Bahá'í institutions". This is hardly the case. All Bahá'ís are subject to Bahá'í law and Bahá'í standards. It would clearly be unacceptable for a Bahá'í doctor to advocate abortion as a method of birth control and set up a clinic for that purpose, or for a Bahá'í psychiatrist to publicly advocate sexual intercourse before marriage."

(at http://bahai-library.com/compilations/i ... rship.html )


Fri May 21, 2004 8:22 pm
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Post Number:#8  Post 
Abortion is a matter of personal choice. I reject absolutely, as a Bahai, that manmade rules can govern such a deeply personal matter.


Tue Jun 08, 2004 4:39 pm
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Post Number:#9  Post 
Abortion is a matter of "personal choice"? Is that why Shoghi Effendi said it was "forbidden in the Cause"? Does "forbidden" mean "personal choice"? Does that mean alcohol, pedophilia, adultery, is also "personal choice" in the Faith? Because these things are "forbidden" too.

Manatee wrote:
Abortion is a matter of personal choice. I reject absolutely, as a Bahai, that manmade rules can govern such a deeply personal matter.


Thu Jun 10, 2004 9:02 pm

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Post Number:#10  Post 
To balance out the quotations a little bit, there is also the following from the House of Justice: http://bahai-library.com/?file=uhj_legi ... ality.html


Fri Jun 11, 2004 6:24 pm
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Post Number:#11  Post 
I see you got answered from the litterature perspective already.

In my own opinion I find that abortion should be avoided
at all cost but if it is really insuitable for you to have a baby due
to enviromental or personal issues I do think that abortion is better.

After all, what is the point in giving a forced birth to a child which
enviroment would be closer to hell. If child would surely be traumatized,
it would only bring more 'suffering' to the world as an adult(and to
itself).

I think that abortion before the 49 days of impregnation (the
time when the soul enters the body) should be permitted.
After that I would compare it to 'murder'.

_________________
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that would make us infinitely small. But when
we compare ourselves to infinitely small, it makes us infinitely big. What is our size?


Mon Jun 28, 2004 4:14 pm
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Post Number:#12  Post 
Quote:
I think that abortion before the 49 days of impregnation (the
time when the soul enters the body) should be permitted.
After that I would compare it to 'murder'.


"It should be pointed out, however, that the Teachings state that the soul appears at conception, and that therefore it would be improper to use such a method, the effect of which would be to produce an abortion after conception has taken place."

(From letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, May 23, 1975)

(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 344)"

"You have raised the point about the time of the appearance of human soul. You are quite right in your deduction in this regard, as our teachings clearly confirm that the soul of man comes into being at conception.

(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 346)


Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:29 am
Post Number:#13  Post Abortion
Thanks to Mr. Evenson for keeping this important topic in the limelight and reminding us of the Baha'i teachings on this subject if but only by asking the question.

Manatee, dear, the Baha'i teachings on abortion are, from a Baha'i perspective, not manmade rules, but are divine, God-sent rules. These laws are the bedrock of our Faith which we can hardly excuse as being manmade; rather, our own opinions are manmade. Nevertheless, your opinion is welcomed as part of the current day belief by yourself and other Baha'is like yourself which should be addressed.


The medical exception which the Universal House of Justice refers to is somewhat vague and could result in misunderstandings though we are all free to ask them what the proper action should be in particular cases. My own opinion is that they are referring to cases where the life of the mother bearing a child is endangered, that in such cases, abortion may be the best option. Others may wish to expand on that theme and come to the belief they are also referring to cases of rape, incest, or multiple conception (twins) where aborting one twin is necessary to save the life of the other.

Rob


Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:33 pm

Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:54 pm
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Post Number:#14  Post Abortion
A good thing to remember is that the soul starts its existence an conception, so abortion would be a death .


Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:58 pm
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Post Number:#15  Post 
What about if a Bàhá'i is raped? How does she support a baby she didn't want or expect?


Sun Oct 03, 2004 8:22 pm
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Post Number:#16  Post 
Quote:
"One of the most heinous of sexual offenses is the crime of rape. When a believer is a victim, she is entitled to the loving aid and support of the members of her community, and is free to initiate action against the perpetrator under the law of the land should she wish to do so. If she becomes pregnant as a consequence of this assault, no pressure should be brought upon her by the Bahá'í institutions to marry. As to whether she should continue or terminate the pregnancy, it is left to her to decide on the course of action she should follow, taking into consideration medical and other relevant factors, and in the light of the Bahá'í Teachings ..."

The Universal House of Justice, Quoted in The American Bahá'í, November 23, 1993, pp. 10-11, taken from http://bahai-library.com/?file=winters_ ... urvey.html


Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:40 pm
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Post Number:#17  Post 
last quote:
"One of the most heinous of sexual offenses is the crime of rape...As to whether she should continue or terminate the pregnancy, it is left to her to decide on the course of action she should follow, taking into consideration medical and other relevant factors, and in the light of the Bahá'í Teachings ..."

******

I am not sure what this means, my question is: It is a possibility to abort or not? consider that "the light of the Bahá'í Teachings" would never support a murder.

Waiting comments,
Thanks


Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:38 am

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
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Post Number:#18  Post 
I think it means that there is no judgment on such a matter, at least at this stage of time. Since there is no mention of it being forbidden, there would be no administrative sanctions taken for a woman doing so (I don't know of any case where there would be, unless it were somehow flagrant such as if someone continued to promote it as birth control). As far as what the statement is saying ethically, I think that is left up to the individual at this point of time to decide, including based on their circumstances.

Brett


Mon Oct 04, 2004 4:04 pm
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Brett,

Both the Guardian (in a signed letter) and the House say that abortion is "forbidden in the Cause". What does "forbidden" mean? Up to you? The House also says that abortion as a means of birth control is "forbidden".

brettz9 wrote:
I think it means that there is no judgment on such a matter, at least at this stage of time. Since there is no mention of it being forbidden, there would be no administrative sanctions taken for a woman doing so (I don't know of any case where there would be, unless it were somehow flagrant such as if someone continued to promote it as birth control). As far as what the statement is saying ethically, I think that is left up to the individual at this point of time to decide, including based on their circumstances.

Brett


Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:19 pm
Post Number:#20  Post 
This is a very sensative matter for some who come from a background where the thinking is very polarized. That is why Baha'u'llah emphasised that the requisits for fair judgement on any given matter are detachment from certain man-made methods and all ideologies and contentions in matters of faith. A fair person will take into account that while the Baha'i Teachings clearly established certain things as permissible or forbidden there is, at present, no way for the Administrative Order, in its current mode of functioning, to make judgements on everything it is intended to be able to when It's authority is fully actualized. To believers firm in the Covenant there are no polarizations on such issues as are current amongst various peoples and groups. There are many ills needing to be healed in due time, but to focus on one or another issue prematurely would have its drawbacks. For example, we know that one of the Teachings is the adoption of a universal auxillary language, which will truly assist in uniting the peoples of the world. If the Baha'i Community were to put extended energy into promoting this Teaching at present many seekers of truth would view the Faith as impractical, as such a Teaching can only be established when the conditions are right. Be fair in your judgement then: There are more pressing issues in the world, which, once addressed will also aid in the resolution of those root causes that lead to abortions whether for medical or immoral reasons.


Mon Nov 22, 2004 4:28 pm

Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:18 am
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Post Number:#21  Post 
That last response was VERY true for me. It is not the time or place to be propagating teachings that need deepening to understand and accept.

We are too live under the governement of our respective countries.

We also have no scientific point of conception since a fertilized egg does not always become attached to the utrerus and even then it does not always attached at the right stage of the womens cycle.

Too many factors are left up in the air as to the accuracy of when conception occurs that is why the Guardian has said it is forbidden after conception but still leaves it up to us to make the final decision.

In my opinion only though. I may not be in utmost understanding of the science or scripture involved:)

Mat


Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:12 am
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Post Number:#22  Post 
Approving and condoning abortion is tantamount to endorsing premarital sex. This is a collosal sin!
Beware, let us not condone what has been condemned by God!


Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:28 am

Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:18 am
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Post Number:#23  Post 
I think your right but I see nothing in the responses from Bahai's that would illicit any impropriety. Your statement assumes too much. This is a matter of fact discussion.

But I agree we should not promote pre-marital sex. But I also think we do not need to shun any view from discussion that might enlighten us all. Or turn away those who are attracted but might not accept right away that teaching from Bahaullah.

Or more to the point turn away seekers at all. Remember the challenges in this world. And try to remember the deepening into the faith you possibly took, as a way to understand how these topics should be discussed.

I am not advocating lying just good judgement. No one will look into the faith if they feel the people in the faith will shun them and make them feel bad. And we all know as Bahai's that is not what we want or how we feel towards non-Bahai's.

I want loving faces from all walks of life to enter the faith. And deepin into the teachings of Bahaullah.

Excuse my post I do not want to seem as if I am argueing with you because I agree we dont want to promote things God finds abhorrent. But somethings take more time for individuals to deepin into. And the more seekers we allow to deepin into the faith the more unity we will all feel.

Mat


Wed Nov 24, 2004 9:26 am
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Post Number:#24  Post 
Darrick,

I'm not sure whether you noticed the post I included from the House of Justice or not. What other way is there to interpret the statement?

There are two issues here. What is the moral thing to do given the circumstances and what is the administratively binding thing to do. I was only referring to the latter point. As far as the former, the quotation makes clear that it is up to that individual to decide in light of medical factors and in light of the Baha'i teachings. If it were unequivocally forbidden to the point that it would become an administratively-sanctionable issue, I'm sure they would have stated so clearly. If it were unequivocally permisslble or advisable, they would also have stated so clearly, I think. In any case, the statement clearly says:

Quote:
As to whether she {a believer who was raped} should continue or terminate the pregnancy, it is left to her to decide on the course of action she should follow, taking into consideration medical and other relevant factors, and in the light of the Bahá'í Teachings ..."

The Universal House of Justice, Quoted in The American Bahá'í, November 23, 1993, pp. 10-11, taken from http://bahai-library.com/?file=winters_ ... urvey.html


It also doesn't say Brett or Darrick or anyone else should decide.

In the letter I had linked to earlier, the House mentions in connection with abortion and other issues the following:

Quote:
In studying these principles, it should be noted that in most areas of human behaviour there are acts which are clearly contrary to the law of God and others which are clearly approved or permissible; between these there is often a grey area where it is not immediately apparent what should be done. It has been a human tendency to wish to eliminate these grey areas so that every aspect of life is clearly prescribed.


They also later in the same letter advise, as I think, has also been suggested here on focusing more on the underlying transformative power of the Faith to illumine the consciences and understanding of individuals who ultimately make such decision:

Quote:
In such aspects of morality, the guidance that Bahá'í institutions offer to mankind does not comprise a series of specific answers to these moral issues, but rather the illumination of an entirely new way of life through the renewal of spiritual values. Bahá'ís who are striving to teach the Faith can take advantage of the growing public disquiet about the accelerating moral breakdown throughout the world to bring to the attention of thoughtful people the fact that such problems are symptoms of a profound malaise which can be healed only through acceptance of the divine message. As Bahá'u'lláh states, "the people are wandering in the paths of delusion", engaging in practices which will lead inevitably to unhappiness and disorder. Inspired by the example of loving compassion set by the Master, let the believers disclose to the wayward multitudes a new mode of living which brings true liberty and abiding happiness... (On behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual, 5 June 1988)


We might also keep in mind that 'Abdu'l-Baha, through His Will and Testament has empowered the House of Justice to be able to change its own judgements at a later date (e.g., in response to a change in receptivity of the people):

Quote:
Inasmuch as the House of Justice hath power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so also it hath power to repeal the same. Thus for example, the House of Justice enacteth today a certain law and enforceth it, and a hundred years hence, circumstances having profoundly changed and the conditions having altered, another House of Justice will then have power, according to the exigencies of the time, to alter that law. This it can do because these laws form no part of the divine explicit Text. The House of Justice is both the initiator and the abrogator of its own laws.

(p.20)


When speaking about absolutes as you have pointed out, Shoghi Effendi has also mentioned that we should not isolate one statement from the rest and adhere dogmatically to it. Or, as the House of Justice has stated in a letter on its behalf, sometimes apparent contradictions (e.g., one letter saying such a thing is forbidden, and the other giving extenuating circumstances or the like) are due such reasons as:

Quote:

* In a letter of 19 March 1946 written on his behalf, Shoghi Effendi offers the following guidance about apparently contradictory statements:

We must take the teachings as a great, balanced whole, not seek out and oppose to each other two strong statements that have different meanings; somewhere in between, there are links uniting the two. That is what makes our Faith so flexible and well balanced. For instance there are calamities for testing and for punishment--there are also accidents, plain cause and effect!

* The elucidations of both 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi and the clarifications provided by the Universal House of Justice are often not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of a subject but were written as responses to specific queries of believers.

* In attempting to resolve a seeming contradiction between two statements, it is often illuminating to consider each statement in the context in which it appears. It is also important to consider the reliability of the translations. With the obvious exception of translations of the Guardian, early translations may be inaccurate and misleading.

* In order to deepen one's understanding of a complex subject it is necessary to take into account a wide range of statements."
at http://bahai-library.com/?file=uhj_reco ... tions.html


best wishes,
Brett


Wed Dec 01, 2004 3:15 am
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