"As you have keenly observed, the Universal House of Justice may consider it untimely to make definitive rulings on certain matters to which no direct reference can be found in the Sacred Text. Among these are euthanasia and certain aspects of birth control and abortion, and until such time as rulings are made, these matters are left to the consciences of those concerned who must weigh the medical advice on the case in the light of general guidance given in the Teachings. Your National Spiritual Assembly has specific references regarding birth control and abortion which might be useful to you."
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 289)
"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."
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Ireland, March 16, 1983)
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 343)
The Soul Appears at Conception
"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."
(From letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, May 23, 1975)
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 344)
The practice of abortion - which is absolutely criminal as it involves the deliberate destruction of human life - is forbidden in the Cause.
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 15 August 1939)
Regarding the practice of abortion; as no specific reference has been made to the subject in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, it devolves upon the International House of Justice to definitely pronounce upon it. There can be no doubt, however, that this practice, involving as it does the destruction of human life, is to be strongly deprecated.”
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 13 November 1940)
As there is nothing specific in the Bahá'í Writings on the subject of abortion, it will consequently have to be dealt with by the International House of Justice, when that Body is formed.
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 20 October 1953)
The problems confronting doctors at this time when abortion is becoming such a widely accepted practice are indeed grave, and we have the greatest sympathy with them in the serious dilemma in which they are placed.
It is quite true that, according to the Teachings, the soul of an individual appears at conception and the practice of abortion merely to get rid of unwanted children is absolutely prohibited in the Faith. However, circumstances might exist in which abortion could be justified. Since such a situation is not dealt with in the Sacred Text and the Universal House of Justice does not wish to legislate upon it at present, individual believers needing to make such a decision will have to be guided by the general principle stated above, the best professional advice available to them, and their own consciences.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 26 August 1971)
The House of Justice is acutely aware of the difficulty you are currently experiencing due to the desire of your daughter to have an abortion, and to the legal requirement that such a procedure have the consent of a parent. The House of Justice understands and commends your sincere wish to act in the best interests of your daughter, and at the same time to comply with the teachings of the Faith.
You are undoubtedly aware of the law of the Faith that abortion merely to prevent the birth of a child is forbidden. This law is based on the fact that the human soul comes into existence at the time of conception. In light of this fundamental principle, the House of Justice does not deem it permissible under these circumstances for a Bahá'í to give consent to an abortion.
Bahá'u'lláh has laid down certain laws for the protection and upliftment of humanity, and believers can with complete confidence in the results adhere to the requirements He has placed upon us. The benefit which is derived from such obedience will undoubtedly enable you to eventually see in the present “calamity” the “light of mercy” of His providence, which He has affirmed is there.
The House of Justice assures you of its most ardent prayers at the Sacred Threshold that the Blessed Beauty will surround you and your daughter with His love and protection during this trying period.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual, 26 June 1990)