In 2019 it was discovered by the Australian New Zealand Journal Of Public Health that approximately one in six Australian women in their thirties have an abortion. Abortion is known as the medical process of ending a pregnancy. Since abortion is a highly regarded ethical issue, religious followers take into account the teachings of their religion. Catholicism is one of the religions that do not accept abortion, although others have exceptions, for instance, Sikhism. Although religions have different perspectives – a solution has taken place to accommodate both the religions to coexist.
Victoria’s law is individuals can access abortion up to 24 weeks – after this two doctors need to deem an abortion is appropriate with a decision that considers the women’s physical and mental wellbeing is at risk. In May 2016 the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 provided a ‘safe zone’ at a 150-metre radius surrounding abortion centres; ensuring individuals entering or leaving can do this safely and privately. Sikhism is a religion in India and makes up 1.9% of the population. Abortion can only be performed in a period of twenty weeks under four conditions including if the mother has risks to her health, the foetus has abnormalities, the pregnancy occurred as a failure of conception and if the pregnancy is a result of sexual assault. With one doctor’s approval, the abortion can take place within 12 weeks – although two doctors approval is needed from 12 weeks to 20 weeks. In India, there is an issue of female infanticide where the female foetuses are being aborted because of culture.
Catholicism has a moral where abortion is incorrect. When the woman’s life is at risk or sexual assault has occurred, Catholicism does not condone abortion. “not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” Roman 12:21. The scripture indicates that sexual assault is evil, which can only be defeated by giving birth to the child. Catholics believe that “a human exists at conception” thus the sanctity of life states all life is sacred and should be protected thereby the foetus is life. “Thou shall not kill” from the ten commandments abortion is seen as killing. Samuel 2:6 by “the Lord gives death and life” – means only God has the power to give and take life away from earth. The Bible demonstrates that God has created each human in his image. Therefore abortion will be destroying what God’s creation “God created mankind in his image” Genesis 1:2. Abortion is forbidden in Sikhism as it interferes with Gods creative work. Sikhism believes life begins at conception “In the first watch of the night you enter the womb and ten months late you are born” Page 74. Only Guru can destroy and create life evident by Page 473 of the Guru Sabith “the one lord himself destroys and also preserves life”. Guru states on page 218 “you have obtained the priceless jewel of this human life. Why are you uselessly wasting it?” referring to the Sanctity of life. Sikhism allows abortion if the women’s life is in danger or the women was a victim of sexual assault as it values equality whereby the women’s life shall be protected “we are conceived and born from women (…) she keeps the race going” Page 473. There are contradicting beliefs; however, both religions can coexist.
Victoria is a state where individuals of different religions to express themselves; however, there are some cases where discrimination can occur. Although each has different beliefs regarding abortion, they’re able to tolerate each other. Each faith demonstrates values that are respected by followers as Jesus, and the Guru taught these. Matthew 22:36-40 “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” and “performs selfless service, without reward, shall attain his Lord” Page 286. The religions shall love all people as they would like to be loved, thus relating to solidarity where everyone is family. Each religion has belief in a ‘principle of participation’ meaning people have the right to configure their own lives in their society while having the responsibility to accept each other’s choices. “Love one another as I have loved you” John 15:12-17 represents this. Dignity has emerged not from what was accomplished or own but that we’re created in the likeness of God. It is a teaching that everyone has the right to be treated with the same respect no matter ethnicity, gender, or religion – Catholics and Sikhs respect everyone because they are human. 1 Peter 4:8-11 “serve one another with the gifts you have received.” – all people should give to one another with what has been provided by God. These teachings are applicable to the ethical perspective of abortion because it is taught by God or Guru that we support others not to be judged if they need an abortion; instead, it should be accepted. Jesus taught “treat others how you would wish to be treated” – if an individual was undertaking an abortion, religious followers should not judge as it is what God taught. Although Sikhism has a different stance on abortion, Catholics respect Sikhism no different and vice versa.
Catholics and Sikhs have discovered harmony in a pluralist society by using values taught by their religions. Abortion is an ethical issue that will continuously be debated; however, religion has found a way to accept one another even if the individual disagrees with ethics. Although each religion differs, shared values have created a mutual level of respect formed between each thus they are able to coexist peacefully.