Divergent Views on Abortion and the Period of Ensoulment

Badawy A. B. Khitamy


A Muslim woman in her sixteenth week of pregnancy was informed that her ultrasound scan showed spina bifida, and laboratory results confirmed the diagnosis. The child would have various complications and, most probably, would need medical care for life. With the consent of her husband she decided to terminate the pregnancy. Her decision sparked controversy among Muslim clerics in her community, sparking debate between those who would allow abortion for medical reasons and those who oppose abortion for any reason. This paper will review the philosophical and theological arguments of the pro-life and pro-choice groups as well as the Islamic perspective concerning a woman’s autonomy over her reproductive system, the sanctity of the fetus and the embryo, therapeutic abortion, and ensoulment.


Anti-abortion; Right to life; Autonomy; Sanctity of life; Fetus; Embryo; Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical; Oman.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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