There is no objection in Islam to contraception or family planning with the mutual consent of the spouses. If the wife and the husband desire not to have any more issues, they can prevent conception with harmless pills, injections and other contraceptive methods. But obviating birth of already conceived is undesirable in Islam. Islam wants that the progeny of its followers flourish. When the male and female cells have fused to form an embryo, it is the rudiment of a living being and its abortion is forbidden in Islam.
Although the embryo is a minuscule object, it has full right to existence. It is an existence, which is fast developing towards becoming a full-fledged human being. This small creature wants its mother to provide congenial environment to grow in and take birth as full-fledged human. If one aborts such an existence, one has committed murder and the act will be liable to punishment of the parents on the Day of Judgment.
The Faith of Islam, which is the guardian of the rights of all, has banned completely the abortion and infanticide. Ishaq bin Ammar says, “I submitted to Imam Mua ibn Ja’far that in case a woman is scared of getting pregnant do you permit her to take medicine which brings about abortion. The Imam replied, “No I cannot give such a permission!".
The narrator again said, “What is the decree for the time when the pregnancy is in its initial embryonic stage?"
The Imam replied, “The development of man commences with the formation of the embryo. Allah says in the Qur’an,
‘On the Day of Judgment the parents will be asked: for what crime you have killed your innocent child?’ “(Qur’an, 81:8-9)
Abortion of foetus is a very amoral act, which Islam has forbidden. Also, such operations are highly risky for the life and health of the mother. Dr Pak Nagar, addressing a seminar on abortion has said"
“…. it has been proved that forcing abortions reduces the expected age of the woman. Scientific research also has proved that abortion upsets the psychological balance of the woman’s mind." 1
From 1951 to 1953, according to the statistics of the New York City, 2601 women died during abortions. In the next ten years the fatality on this account has risen by 42%. In Chile 39% of female deaths were on account of abortions.
One excuse for having access to forced abortions is poverty. Some parents take shelter behind their poverty to kill their innocent children.
There is no doubt that lots of families are victims of poverty. It is no doubt very difficult to bring up a family in the midst of poverty. But Islam does not accept the excuse of aborting children because of the unfortunate condition of poverty and penury. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Do not kill your children with fear of poverty. We give you and them the sustenance. Killing children is definitely a big sin." (Qur’an, 17:31)
When the foetus has already formed, the parents should bear the hardship courageously that possibly the child might grow into a great person and bring laurels for the family and the society. Possibly the child may become the cause of the economic well being of the family and they get relief from their poverty.
Other excuses are also made for undergoing abortions like outdoor activities, official responsibilities and already having too many children. But these are not such valid excuses that the Islamic Jurisprudence and common sense permit abortions.
Not only abortion is unlawful in the eyes of Islam but also retribution has been fixed for this sinful act which differs according to the age of the foetus which has been aborted forcibly.
Imam as-Sadiq says:
“If the aborted child is in embryo form then the blood money is equal to 20 dinars of gold. If the pregnancy has reached the form of a lump of flesh, the blood money has to be forty dinars of gold. If the pregnancy has advanced to the form of muzga and flesh the blood money has to be sixty gold dinars and if the foetus has formed bones the levy is eighty gold dinars. If the foetus has reached total human form the levy is one hundred gold dinars. If the aborted child is so developed that it has spirit in it, then the deet or punishment will be one human life.2
The lady, Afsar al Maluk Amili has written a beautiful poem on this subject, translated as under
“The tiny aborted child appeared in my dream and said: