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The Rights of the Fetus: Ensoulment as the Cut-Off Point Legislation on Abortion

Ghodrati Fatemeh, Akbarzadeh Marzieh

Background: Unwanted pregnancy is believed to be one of the toughest experiences of pregnant women. In the majority of cases, unintended pregnancy leads to illegal abortion, infection and finally the death of mother. Abortion is one of the serious problems in human communities today, and major discussion in penal law. In the holy religion of Islam, it has been paid attention since human soul is highly revered. So, Sharia law has banned abortion. Does the fetus possess capability and capacity to turn into a perfect human being as a potential man? Does he have the right to “be kept safe” and to “live”? Does he deserve respect and reverence? What is the evidence for supporting the rights of fetus in Islam?

Method: This research developed by documentary and library studies.

Funding and Conclusion: Supporting fetal rights is not limited to supporting the right to live through banning abortion or other means of ending the life of the fetus. Rather, in Islam, fetus possesses a spiritual right and the parents are obligated to observe these rights for the safety of the fetus before, during and after pregnancy. Also, the issue of the mother’s independent life has stipulated that the fetus or embryo deserves the right of inheritance and in the case of the death of the fetus after ensoulment (the moment at which a human being gains a soul), all ordinary rites and rituals for burying the adult dead must be observed for the dead fetus as well.