The Bioethical concept of life for life: Abortion when the mother’s life is in danger in Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam
Modern secular bioethics has focused on developing a set of universal principles to guide clinical decision making. However, this ignores the important role of religion in resolving bioethical questions. It is imperative that healthcare providers understand these belief systems in order to traverse value conflicts and provide the highest quality care to a diverse population. This paper focuses on the process of bioethical deliberation in Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam. Abortion is normatively prohibited in each faith and through examining how each ethical code allows for abortion when the mother’s life is in peril due to the fetus, we highlight the value of unborn life in each faith. Orthodox Judaism uses the concept of rodef, or pursuer, to permit abortion in this scenario, Catholicism uses the moral concept of “double effect,” while Islamic law cites the maqasid, higher objectives of the law, to permit abortion in this scenario.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).