Abortion

According to the Bahá’í Teachings the human soul starts with the formation of the embryo, and continues to develop and pass through stages of existence after its separation from the body. Its progress is thus infinite.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 204

Abortion and surgical operations for the purpose of preventing the birth of unwanted children are forbidden in the Cause unless there are circumstances which justify such actions on medical grounds, in which case the decision, at present, is left to the consciences of those concerned who must carefully weigh the medical advice in the light of the general guidance given in the Teachings. Beyond this nothing has been found in the Writings concerning specific methods or procedures to be used in family planning. It should be pointed out, however, that the Teachings state that the soul appears at conception, and that therefore it would be improper to use such a method, the effect of which would be to produce an abortion after conception has taken place.

Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 344

Abortion merely to prevent the birth of an unwanted child is strictly forbidden in the Cause. There may, however, be instances in which an abortion would be justified by medical reasons, and legislation on this matter has been left to the Universal House of Justice. At the present time, however, the House of Justice does not intend to legislate on this very delicate issue, and therefore it is left to the consciences of those concerned who must carefully weigh the medical advice in the light of the general guidance given in the teachings.

Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 343

All Bahá’ís are subject to Bahá’í law and Bahá’í standards. It would clearly be unacceptable for a Bahá’í doctor to advocate abortion as a method of birth control and set up a clinic for that purpose, or for a Bahá’í psychiatrist to publicly advocate sexual intercourse before marriage.

The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Dec 10, Issues Related to Study Compilation

As to the permissibility of terminating a pregnancy following the discovery through amniocentesis of a severely handicapped foetus, this is a matter left to the judgement of capable professionals in the field, and the consciences of the parents. As you are aware, the Bahá’í Writings prohibit the practice of abortion solely for the purpose of terminating unwanted pregnancies; however, circumstances may occur in which an abortion would be justifiable. The Texts of the Faith do not specify what these circumstances are, and the House of Justice does not wish to legislate on this matter presently. Therefore, a Bahá’í couple faced with making this decision should be guided by this principle, the best medical advice possible, and their individual consciences."

Universal House of Justice, 21 May 1992, to an individual

Basically the deliberate taking of human life is forbidden in the Cause, but the Sacred Text envisages certain possible exceptions to this rule and allows for the Universal House of Justice to legislate upon them. One such possible exception is the matter of abortion. It is clear that it is absolutely forbidden for a woman to have an abortion merely because she wants to have one, but there may be circumstances in which an abortion might be justified. However, at the present time we do not wish to legislate on whether or in what circumstances abortion may be permitted, and therefore the whole matter is left to the consciences of those concerned who must carefully weigh the medical advice on the case in the light of the general guidance given in the Teachings.

Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities