The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Abortion

1 Question: Is a mother allowed to abort the feotus, if she does not want it while the soul has not yet entered it and there is no serious danger to the mother’s life?
Answer: She is not allowed to do that, except if the continuation of the pregnancy would harm her health or put her in an unbearable difficulty.
2 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.
3 Question: What is your ruling on aborting an “unwanted pregnancy” before 4 months into the pregnancy?
Answer: It is not permissible .
4 Question: What is the kaffara of abortion?
Answer: In case the mother aborts the child, she must give the indemnity (blood money) to the father or other heirs. And if the father carries out the abortion, the indemnity is obligatory on him and he must give it to the mother. If it is the doctor who carries out the abortion, it is obligatory on him to give the blood money although he may abort the child on the parents’ request. He must give the blood money except for when the heirs exempt him. It would suffice for the blood money of the fetus into which soul has entered to give 525 mithqals of silver. That is when the fetus is male and if it is female, half of that amount should be paid. As a measure of obligatory precaution, the indemnity of the fetus which dies in the womb is also the same. If the fetus is lifeless and it is in the form of a fertilized ovum (zygote), 105 mithqals of silver would suffice for the blood money. In case it is in the form of a leech-like substance, the indemnity is 210 mithqals. If it develops into a chewed-like substance, the indemnity is 315 mithqals. If the fetus has bones, 420 mithqals of silver would suffice. If it has developed into a complete human body with grown up limbs and organs, the indemnity is 525 mithqals of silver. If the fetus is soulless, there is no difference between a male fetus and a female one as an obligatory precaution. Soul enters the body at the fourth month of pregnancy except for when it is proved otherwise through modern equipment. If the fetus is alive and it is aborted, the indemnity is 5250 mithqal of silver for a male child and 2625 mithqal for a female child.
5 Question: My wife seems to be one or two weeks pregnant and we already have four children. We don't want any more children. Under what circumstances is an abortion allowed?
Answer: Abortion is not allowed after the implantation of the [fertilized] ovum [on the lining of the womb], except if the mother’s life is in danger or the continuation of pregnancy will cause difficulty for her that is not normally bearable and there is no other solution but abortion. In this case, it would be permissible to abort the foetus as long as the soul has not entered into it; after the entering of the soul, it is not permissible, as an obligatory precaution.
6 Question: What is the ruling on abortion for a pregnant woman who is infected with AIDS?
Answer: It is not permissible, more so after the soul has entered the feotus. Of course, if continuation of the pregnancy poses a danger to the mother, it is permissible for her to abort it before the entering of the soul in the feotus, but not after it.
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