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“My body my choice“ sounds like a compelling slogan. One that is slowly but surely gaining momentum across the world. Well, at face value, it certainly does seem to sound rather attractive. The slogan and the philosophy behind it seem to be supporting the autonomy of women to make decisions regarding their health and body and by extension the right to an abortion.
let’s deconstruct the philosophy behind the aforementioned slogan for better understanding. The biggest weapon in the arsenal of abortion advocates is to devalue the sanctity of an unborn child . We now see people calling the fetus “just a clump of cells”
Or even better ,”a parasite“. It is after all, much lighter on the conscience to eliminate a parasite or scrub off a clump of undesirable cells than carry the burden of eliminating a life.
For abortion advocates, the argument boils down to bodily autonomy. They insist that just because a fetus resides inside a mother’s body, she should have the right, if she so chooses, to eliminate it. Except it’s not just her body that she is deciding for. The unborn baby is not an extension of her body. Human beings have an inalienable right to life. As cliche’d as it sounds an individual’s right to choose what they want to do with their body ends where another human being begins. So unless women claim to have two heads, two hearts, and four lungs,the body of a fetus is separate from that of the mother.
Islam teaches us that regardless of whether life exists intrauterine or extra-uterine, that has no significance on it’s sanctity. Sanctity applies to all human life and bodies even when that life cannot make its own decisions.
The Qur’an clearly disapproves taking a life when it states
“Take not life which Allah has made sacred “(6:15)
The bible also refers to the fetus in the womb as a child, granting it person-hood.
“Behold the virgin shall be with child and bear a son.” (Mathew 1:23)
The incident of the adulteress at the time of prophet Mohammad (SAW), who was spared punishment until the baby was born and safe is a clear example of upholding the rights of an unborn child so much so that the mother could not be punished because it would harm the innocent child as well. Such an example clearly differentiates the life of the mother and child as two separate entities. When we justify killing an unborn child we are in essence justifying killing a human being.
However that is not to say that Islamic laws cause injustice since in some cases exceptions can be made. As we know many women become victim to the scavenging wolves of humanity. So A child that is the product of rape can be aborted due to the simple fact that they are the result of a crime and that the mother will never be able to care for such a child. Neither is such a scenario the child’s fault. Further more, if the mothers life is in danger due to her pregnancy, she is allowed to terminate the baby as carrying the baby to term could potentially mean the loss of both lives and also rid her family of someone they need. Therefore in this case if 2-3 specialists confirm that the mothers life is indeed in danger, the lesser of the two evils is chosen. This is also allowed by some fuqahaa who believe pregnancy is permissible within the first 40 days of pregnancy (according to Scholar’s of Islam).
Such exceptions show us the reasoning and justice behind Islamic law and provide a clear boundary within which we need to maintain ourselves.