As we are aware, abortion can be defined as “the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death”
If a child is meant to be born at a certain time for a specified pair of parents, killing him/her at a certain stage of the early age of the child is questionable. But if there is a reason such as:
1. The mother is an underage rape victim and she is not physically fit enough to bear the child
2. The mother is an AIDS victim and there is a possibility that the child gets infected
Doctors tend to perform Induced abortion due to above reasons. Is this justifiable according to Buddhism?
Sometimes Spontaneous abortion will happen without any justifiable reason. If childbirth is a natural process there should be something beyond our senses which disturbs these natural processes. It is like the weather report, you predict there will be rain but it won’t rain. Why?
Why would abortion be okay in some cases and not in others? It's a hard question, whether we should be okay with terminating a human life in any case; Buddhism sees a human birth as incredibly rare and calls it a precious opportunity. On the other hand, if a life has a certain amount of karma to live out, won't the abortion just result in the life being manifested somewhere else and living out its karma? How does that work? Since karma results in a certain birth and a certain kind of life, can we say that it is one's karma to live only to a certain stage of development inside the womb, so that karma results in the life forming inside a womb which will ultimately abort it? Or is that too much like destiny?
God bless ALL children. I was born to parents who were neglectful and abusive. The State of Texas removed me from their care when I was very young and placed me in foster care. I was adopted at age 3 by very loving parents. Sometimes it is not apparent to us what the blessing is because it is masked in our own pain. God bless those who suffer so others may live according to God's plan.
I think the first "duty" of a Buddhist is to try and avoid doing harm to another being or to ourselves. I agree with the previous posting that the condition for killing is that the karmic results can be seen to be more beneficial than not-killing BUT our minds are clouded in ignorance and disturbed by emotions - how can we see a being's future as hopeless? Myself I was not born to Buddhist parents - nobody forecast I would take an interest in Buddhism - perhaps it would of been easy to write me off as a hopeless case - never to be enlightened, destined to do more harm than good - better off dead! In most cases agreeing to abortion is like playing God and Buddhists claim to have risen above the likes of God or destiny - we must make a choice - to do harm or not to do harm, to benefit or not to benefit. I think if we don't know how the karma plays out, we must respect the freewill of the unborn being to determine its own "destiny" and do everything we can to enble a safe birth. Buddhists don't force their ideas on others and leave others to work out their own karma.
What to think about women who have been raped. I will quote the example what happened in Brazil last year. Do you remember that young 9 years old girl who had been raped by her step-father and who was pregnant with twins. Her so weak body was unable to carry two children. In her case not to make an abortion would have been to condemn her to death as she if she had been guilty to have been raped. And. even in that case we are not sure the two babies would have survived .
Yes I think abortion is never a solution and we must but unfortunately it can't be avoided.
We cannot know the precise results of any of our actions because our mind is clouded by ignorance and not "awakened". We can however act in a mindful way, attempting to discern the best action to take where there is a choice. In the case of abortion we make a choice in the same way as we make choices for other actions we wish to take. We try to use whatever powers of discernment we have to take the action we believe will cause the least harm. If we remember this and this is our motivation there will be no regrets at whatever action is taken. We have to choose the best way we can at the time, being as careful or mindful as we can of the consequences of our actions.
Lee. Tibetan Buddhists believes the consciousness enters the womb at conception - this means life has started immediately after intercourse has taken place. In Buddhism as you know the mind does not grow out of the essence of the mother but is formed out of a mindstream or consciousness that has migrated from a previous lifetime. So any abortion involves the ending of a life, voluntarily or not. Also in Buddhism there is no god - it is our decision, our choice what and when to do something and when or when not to do nothing and stand by. Indeed I have to be mindful as I write here as I take responsibility for the results of my writing. In fact right now on reading this you have a choice in your mind are you pro choice or not with regards to abortion - should it be banned outright? What is your stance? What is your advice? Are you willing to take responsibility or will you leave it all up to some god?
I tend to agree with LA Miller - won't the mindstream of the aborted sentient being, re-attach ASAP? Also, is it not part of this non-physical (as yet) sentient being's karma to have been aborted? The reality is harsh - there are thousands of women all over the world having abortions at this moment. There is no way we can stop them. Some of them have lives of abject misery, which, should they give birth would be passed on to the new baby - toddler - child - teenager - adult etc to share. We all have to take responsibility for our own actions, as buddhists, because we have had sufficient merit in this life to come into contact with the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Our minds have become slightly clearer. I guess we can only ensure that we do our individual best at all times.
LA Miller said:
My view is mostly not to be the judge. Can we stop life? I don't know, perhaps delay, but will the life not come though in it's time?
All killing is wrong, but as i can only control and am ultimately only responsable for what i do it is not for me to judge the conduct of others only to render my compassion and assisstance to them when it is requested. I feel we should be working towards the erradication of the karma of all killing rather than weighing up which type of killing is more preferable to another. Blessings to all. Changchup Sangpo
Any form of killing is wrong. However HIV infected mothers do give birth to perfectly healthy babies. I am a practising (5precepts) Buddhist and emergency medical practitioner in South Africa where we have a very very high HIV status. If medical personel take proper control and precautions during the delivery of the baby no contamination takes place. I do agree to some extent that if the mother was a victim of rape it might be considered, but this must be the mothers choice, she should not be told what to do. In some cases this child is the only good that comes from such horrible attacks. The mother must consider that it might be the only pregnancy she may ever have as so much can go wrong. I think the best way will be to use real human compassion and a clear mind. Going full term and giving the child up for adoption is also a consideration. To say that destiny has anything to do with it is possible, however destiny can be changed (Lao Fan). Perhaps many people especially in the west are to fond of the "instant coffee solutions" to life. At the end of it all may we only wish that all beings be at peace, find liberation and may we in the mean time do everything in our power to assist with wisdom.
It can be looked in both ways, positive and negative as per the situation of one who is going to be mother or was a mother. However, thinking of having an abortion with concept of easy, happy life without bearing child would have consequences and serious impact on our society!