Abortion Referral


I have a problem which has been resurfacing at work for sometime and I desperately need some advice. As you know I am a doctor and in this day of declining morals I am being approached regularly by women and young girls who have become pregnant and want an abortion.
Of course I tell them that it is against my religion and belief to perform such a sinful act. However they ask for advice on a referral to another doctor who would perform an abortion for them. This is where I run into problems.
If I don’t refer them to a good doctor they go to any odd doctor or individual and have an abortion done. In some cases, serious harm and in one case death has resulted from, a badly performed abortion. So, I feel that if I refer them to a ‘good” specialist I may be saving them from harming themselves since they are going to have one done anyway. (Whether I help them or not)
However, I sometimes question myself when I refer them to another doctor to have an abortion done since I feel that I am also helping them do a very evil act.
I need your Islamic advice on this problem.
(Mahmood, south Africa)

Abortion after four month’s pregnancy is totally Haram. However, if the pregnancy is of less than four months it may be permissible in the case of genuine need only. Where the abortion is not permissible for a pregnant lady a Muslim doctor can neither perform abortion for her nor can he advise her to do so. In the cases you mentioned you can inform the ladies about the impermissibility of the act. After explaining to them the religious position you can mention to them the names of the specialists who are competent to carry out abortion but it is not permissible for you to refer them formally to those specialists, meaning thereby, that you should not advise them to approach for such specialists nor write a letter of referral to them.