Vodun F.A.Q. – How does Vodun approach abortion? What is the perspective on abortion in African spirituality?

African Spirituality is pro choice. To be considered a competent midwife you must learn birth control and how to humanely end pregnancy. In short, Vodun and diaspora belief systems are pro choice. Individuals may have their own opinions about it and various houses and groups may approach it differently, but generally, abortion is not considered something inappropriate or “sinful”. It could be classed as unfortunate or misfortune when it has to be done, but there is nothing like “sin” attached to it so long as it is done respectfully.

For us, every atom in the Universe is sacred, but this does not translate to allowing one’s self to be harmed because one’s own atoms and one’s own life is also sacred. A person with a womb is not obligated to carry a pregnancy that they do not want to. There does not need to be any special reason or excuse. She is allowed to prevent or stop pregnancy as a matter of natural prerogative.

Interfering with a woman’s prerogative is an offense akin to rape which is definitely inappropriate and punishable. It is disrespectful to her and to her ancestors who built her. Only her comfort or discomfort with carrying someone’s genes into the world is relevant.

This does not mean that the decision to carry or not carry a child to term is based on whimsy or just feelings. Aside of the normal considerations like the financial and psychological, and overall situation into which a child would be born, there may be spiritual considerations as well. Someone’s situation at the moment may be pretty bad, but things may improve or it may be that the woman thinks her situation is worse than it is. It could be that though her situation is bad, her ancestors advise her to carry through anyway because the child needs to be born to help change it.

The question of destiny will come up in a practitioner of almost any ATR or ADR, as soon as the question of abortion does. So if after all the thinking, praying, and divination, there is still just no way that the pregnancy should continue, the abortion is done with the gravity it deserves. The child is grieved because they are a child, and it is unfortunate that they could not be born at this time.

This gravity, by the way, is why contraception is considered highly important to most of us. If we’re aware, we’ve been staying close to our Ancestors since before a relationship or even fling that could result in pregnancy started. We tend to take precautions so that this situation doesn’t arise, and if it does, the question of whether or not the ancestors would have been okay with the union being fruitful has already been answered.

It is also not considered a great idea to be sparking a bunch of new souls with people one’s Ancestors would not approve of. Scientifically, once you conceive, that child’s DNA is all up in your system. So decades after you have conceived with Mr. Toxic, his baby’s cells are still in you. Nope. Not something any of us want.

Vodun and most other ATRs and ADRs are very pro science because we are about aligning with Nature. Fetomaternal microchimerism has become a feature in our spiritual and moral decision making because something that becomes a part of your body becomes a part of what influences you.

So the decision to go ahead with an abortion is basically a last ditch effort to minimize damage. It is not approached casually. The situation that would bring it about is prevented to the best of our abilities.

So we try not to even have sex with someone the Ancestors would not want us to make a baby with. If we’re forced to or do so for medicinal reasons, we use contraception. If that fails, abortion is an option.

When weighing the options, one reason we consider abortion a damage control measure is the concept of “abiku”. An abiku is basically a child who is born, traumatized, and dies repeatedly. Abortion itself can cause the kind of damage that may create one, but this is unlikely except in cases where oppression, war, or disasters cause too many miscarriages and child deaths. Abortions done out of necessity during such situations will get mixed in with that atrocity. On the other hand, in a stable situation, the injury is a one time thing and the child may return (since some of their cells are still in the mother) at a better time and merged with the cells of their siblings who would have better experiences.

It’s complicated, and things don’t always go so smoothly, but as I said, the idea is to minimize the damage.

K. Sis. Nicole T.N. Lasher

Webmatron of Orisha.me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Respectful African Spirituality Tshirts, Mugs, and More!