Pregnancy, Prenatal Testing, and Abortion: A Perspective from Muslim Women in Australia Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We examine the influence of Islam on women's perceptions of pregnancy, the use of prenatal testing, and abortion. It is based on an in-depth interview study on women's perceptions and experiences of prenatal testing conducted in Melbourne, Australia in 1999. It is clear that Islam has a marked influence on women's perceptions and practices relating to pregnancy, prenatal testing, and abortion. Pregnancy is encouraged and praised by Islam. Women who become mothers are seen as followers who spread Islam in the world. Islam encourages prenatal technology, which will not harm the individual's health and wellbeing. If the possibility exists that technology could have a harmful effect on the foetus, it is not acceptable. Islam in general, prohibits abortion. However, abortion is acceptable by Islam if the mother's health is endangered or the foetus has severe defects to the extent that it would be unable to function as a human being. Health care providers who work with women from Islamic background during their pregnancies need to be aware of women's religious beliefs so that a better understanding can be achieved, and hence culturally sensitive care can be provided. This might make the experience of pregnancy for Muslim women in their new homeland a more enjoyable one.

publication date

  • 2001