Young Scholars Series:

Abortion, Ijtihad, and the Rise of Progressive Islam

December 4, 2013

Young Scholar: Nicholas Dunn

Nicholas Dunn is a graduate of The King’s College in New York City, with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE).  He is currently a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University.


Majority-Muslim countries have played a crucial role defending life and the family in the United Nations system. Recognizing the powerful influence of religion in opposing their pro-abortion agenda, agencies like Planned Parenthood and UNFPA have made efforts to target religious leaders and use them to change public opinion among their followers. Nicholas Dunn examines the way in which the debate over abortion has evolved in Muslim scholarship, and how abortion advocates in Muslim countries are using the idea of conscience, or itjihad, to promote acceptance of abortion, both in practice and in law. He also examines how UN agencies and NGOs have been attempting to co-opt the teachings of Islam to promote pro-abortion international policies since the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994.