The Bab and Shoghi Effendi on Abortion

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The Bab and Shoghi Effendi on Abortion

Postby hugobjzq » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:14 pm

The Báb forbade abortion in His Qayyammu'l-Asmá (the "Qur'an" of the Bábí Revelation), and Bahá'u'lláh did not abrogate that Holy Law! Those Laws not abrogated remain. Shoghi Effendi wrote:

The practice of abortion--which is absolutely criminal as it involves the deliberate destruction of human life--is forbidden in the Cause. (to an individual believer, 25 August 1939)

Should this be interpreted to mean: "Abortion is forbidden only when the woman wishes to forbid it for herself?"

Because THAT is how many Baha'is interpret the Guardian's directive.

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Re: The Bab and Shoghi Effendi on Abortion

Postby BruceDLimber » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:14 am


Yet again, the standard assertion-without-evidence sort of put-down from the usual source. :-(


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Re: The Bab and Shoghi Effendi on Abortion

Postby British_Bahai » Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:50 am

Darrick_Evenson wrote:The practice of abortion--which is absolutely criminal as it involves the deliberate destruction of human life--is forbidden in the Cause. (to an individual believer, 25 August 1939)

(Darrick, please do not take this the wrong way - its in my nature to question everything that i read, in particular things online).
I cannot find that quote anywhere.

Can u please provide a more concrete source**, because anyone can write "(to an individual believer, 25 August 1939)" and claim it as authentic text.


**i.e. its appearance on an official bahai website.

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Postby brettz9 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:26 am

Greetings all,

If this qualifies...

On 25 August 1939: "The practice of abortion - which is absolutely criminal as it involves deliberate destruction of human life - is forbidden in the Cause. Regarding `mercy killings'..; this is also a matter which the Universal House of Justice will have to legislate upon."

On 13 November 1940: "Regarding the practice of abortion; as no specific reference has been made to the subject in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, it devolves upon the International House of Justice to definitely pronounce upon it. There can be no doubt , however, that this practice, involving as it does the destruction of human life, is to be strongly deprecated."

On 20 October 1953: "As there is nothing specific in the Bahá'í Writings on the subject of abortion, it will consequently have to be dealt with by the Universal House of Justice, when that Body is formed."

(cited in Interpretation and the Guardianship, Ian Semple, Lights of Irfan, 6, at ... nguage=All )

I think its instructive to point out the correlation of all of these passages, including the original one cited in this thread, with the need for the House of Justice to pronounce upon the matter. In at least one case, they have nuanced the above statement:

One of the most heinous of sexual offences is the crime of rape. When a believer is a victim, she is entitled to the loving aid and support of the members of her community, and she is free to initiate action against the perpetrator under the law of the land should she wish to do so. If she becomes pregnant as a consequence of this assault, no pressure should be brought upon her by the Bahá'í institutions to marry. As to whether she should continue or terminate the pregnancy, it is for her to decide on the course of action she should follow, taking into consideration medical and other relevant factors, and in the light of the Bahá'í teachings. If she gives birth to a child as a result of the rape, it is left to her discretion whether to seek financial support for the maintenance of the child from the father; however, his claim to any parental rights would, under Bahá'í law, be called into question, in view of the circumstances....

(Letter written of behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, dated January 24, 1993)

However, the above does seem to be an extreme circumstance, and it does seem quite clear from the quotations that normally speaking, an abortion is in no way justified, and is in fact strongly condemned in the Baha'i Writings...


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Postby Jonah » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:35 pm

I'm locking this thread, because Mr. Evenson has had opportunity to discuss his views many times on this forum. I've allowed his discussions on each topic to appear once, but not to repeatedly bring up the same issues. His last discussion on abortion is here, where it can be continued if necessary:

Thanks, -Jonah

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