Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 513–535 | Cite as

Religious Perspectives on Abortion and a Secular Response

  • Moira Stephens
  • Christopher F. C. Jordens
  • Ian H. Kerridge
  • Rachel A. Ankeny
Original Paper


This paper concerns the medical, religious, and social discourse around abortion. The primary goal of this paper is to better understand how seven of the world’s major religious traditions (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Confucian, and Hindu) address abortion ‘in the clinic’. We do not aim to critique these commentaries but to draw out some of the themes that resonate through the commentaries and place these within complex social contexts. We consider the intersection of ontology and morality; the construction of women’s selfhood; the integration of religious beliefs and practices in a secular world. We suggest that for many women, religious doctrine may be balanced with secular logic as both are important and inextricably linked determinants of decision making about the termination of pregnancy.


Abortion Pregnancy Moral status Ontology Pregnant woman Mother Decision making Religion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moira Stephens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher F. C. Jordens
    • 1
  • Ian H. Kerridge
    • 1
    • 3
  • Rachel A. Ankeny
    • 4
  1. 1.The Centre for Values, Ethics & The Law in MedicineUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Nursing and MidwiferyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of HaematologyWestmead HospitalSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.School of History and PoliticsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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