The Abortion Epidemic - Sikh Research Institute

The Abortion Epidemic

43 – Just remember that number.
It’s an astounding number. You’ll see.
But we’ll come back to it later.
So, let me begin…

“I don’t know why this is such a big deal here in the US.  Other countries are not caught up in the abortion discussion.  It is just because it is a Christian issue and so we have to be part of the political debate since we live in the US.” 

A remark made a while ago and repeated – using different words by different people - several times over the years.

Conversations in passing.  

Not a big deal.  

Does not concern me.

I let it go – many times.

Then came the agitated national discussion around gays and transgender bathrooms in the last couple of years.  People going to jail because they would not make a wedding cake as desired by a gay couple.  Because their understanding of their religion forbids them to do so.

Wow!  People are willing to go to jail rather than compromise their religious beliefs.

I may not agree or disagree with their position but I can certainly admire their action.

There was a time when Sikhs did that.  It wasn’t too long ago… 

But that gets me thinking, finally.

I have read enough to know what other religions, especially the Catholics, say on some of these issues.  

But what does my Guru say?

What is the Sikhi viewpoint on gays, transgender, abortion…the list goes on?  


Not allowed?  

Sometimes allowed?  


Conversations in passing.  

Not a big deal.  

Does not concern us.

Let’s let it go.

But remember that number 43 – that astounding number I mentioned at the beginning of this note.

43 million is the number of induced abortions done globally every year.

Yep! Every year.  

Year in and year out.  


And that is the official, recorded abortions.  The illegal ones can only make the number higher.


Why is that number astounding?

Let’s compare.


Estimated Sikh population on the planet = 25 million.

So, it takes less than 1 year for abortions to overtake the number of Sikhs it took five centuries to accomplish.

Estimated dead in the 1st World War was = 17 million over 4 years or about 4.25 million per year.

Abortions at 43 million is ahead hands down.  Not even a contest.

And the list of comparisons goes on and the 43 million always comes out ahead.

Be very clear, the abortion numbers are large, whether you like it or not, you will most likely be confronted with it, if not already.  Maybe a young couple you know, a relative, a younger person in the sangat (congregation) or even someone within your family.  They may need some advice, some help to deal with it. That’s what the numbers say. 

Do you have a Sikh answer?  Don’t try and wing it.

Or maybe we should we refer to the Bible…

Seriously, what if you were confronted with the abortion issue and had to decide or guide someone in helping them make that decision?  Do you have the understanding based on Sikh values?  Are there instances in our history that we can rely upon?

I decided I need to be more informed to have a Sikh view on abortion.

So, I sat down with a friend who is more knowledgeable about the Scripture.

I supplied the stats, general views as discussed in the US, and writings (mostly Western). He came with readings and thoughts from Gurbani (Infinite Wisdom revealed to the contributors of Guru Granth Sahib). Over a few sessions: Homework, discussion, more homework, more discussion, we defined some common ground and sensibilities.

For example, from the stats viewpoint - rape, incest is less than 2% of the reason for abortion.

But that is where the “high-pitched” discussion is and policies being crafted are.  Not to minimize those issues, but the larger numbers are young adults, college students and young couples.  That’s where the conversation needs to be.

Cutterage (from the French word curette meaning scoop) and vacuum aspiration are just some of the words used to describe the procedure.  We’ve sent humans into space and we might still be using outdated medical technology and procedures to perform abortions.  One would hope the procedures would at least sound a bit more modern.  And here we are having dinner conversations on the humane treatment of animals.  How about we use some of that “humane-ness” for human beings?  Maybe the conversation needs to focus on medical technology?  Because the numbers say that the abortion epidemic is larger than the cancer and cardiac arrest. 

Surprisingly, at least to me, Gurbani has a lot to say about conception, the fetus and development of the fetus – mental and physical.  Various stages of growth and the changing of responsibility.  Very scientific and sometimes graphic.  But tender, gentle and sensitive is Gurbani’s approach.  And thought-provoking.

No spoiler alert here.  Because there is no spoiler.

It’s a journey you will have to take for yourself.

The answers are there.  But you need to make them your own.

Or are these just conversations in passing.  

Not a big deal.  

Does not concern you.

Let it go.

But remember that number 43 (million) abortions.

Yep! Every year.  

Year in and year out.  



Mandhir Singh serves as SikhRI’s Board Emeritus. He works in the financial services industry and lives in New Jersey with his family.


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