Buddhists/Abortion

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Question
Hello,

I have an assignment in Study Of Religion where we have to analyze a ethical dilemma in the Buddhist faith and I think I will choose to write about abortion. I am wondering how Buddhists see on that question (abortion), and whether they believe it is ethically correct or wrong, and why?
Hope I could get help from you

Thank You!
Best wishes,
Sara

Answer
Good morning Sara,

In Buddhism, the general view is that abortion should be avoided, that is, deliberate abortion not supported by legitimate medical reason.  The rationale is of course to do with the prevention of a life from its rightful existence.  I have answered this question many times.  Below is a "copy&paste" of one of my earlier answers.

(The crux of the issue is this. Is abortion the taking of life? Another consideration to take into account is when do we treat the foetus as "alive"? In the Buddhist context, we should also consider when is the time when the foetus has consciousness. We could say, without consciousness, the foetus is not "alive". On the other hand, we could also consider that once the egg is fertilized, there is life potential. Any act to terminate this life potential can be considered killing.

It is fairly clear that Buddhists treat abortion per se as killing. Given that, Buddhists should avoid abortion.

On another note, the issue is not always so straight forward. There may be many underlying factors, constrains, circumstances, considerations and problems facing the person making the choice. It is easy to be an arm-chair critique. But to be realistic, in this cruel and uncertain world, many are forced to take actions that they would not have taken if given a choice.)

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Justin Choo  

Buddhists

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Justin Choo

Expertise

All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.

Experience

I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ http://www.ksridhammananda.com and my blog posting at http://blackandwhite999.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-revered-teacher.html

Organizations
I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

Publications
YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ http://lifeislikethat999.blogspot.com/ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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