Is it permissible for the would be mother to abort the foetus?

Question: In certain cases doctors advise that the foetus is so deformed that it could be very difficult to treat the born baby and, perhaps, it (the child) would live a very short time suffering pain and agony with his parents, then dies. Is it permissible for the would be mother to abort the foetus? Also, is there any difference between the foetus with a spirit and that which the spirit has not yet entered into yet? Assuming it is permissible, should compensation [or blood money] be payable? Who should pay it?

Answer: Abortion in this case is not permissible, even though the soul has not entered the foetus, [let alone a foetus with a soul] .

Question: Sometimes the doctors reach the following conclusion: This foetus is afflicted with a very serious disease; it is therefore preferable that it should be aborted because if that child is born, it will be deformed or will die soon after birth. Is it, therefore, permissible for the doctor to abort the foetus? Is it permissible for the mother to agree to the abortion? And who of the two will become liable for indemnity?

Answer: Just the fact that the child will be deformed or that it will not live for a long time after his birth does not ever justify the termination of the pregnancy. Therefore, it is not permissible for the mother to consent to the abortion just as it is not permissible for the doctor to go ahead with the procedure. And whoever performs the abortion will become liable for the payment of indemnity.

Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani


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