The United States has struggled with the issue of abortion for many years without coming to consensus. We need a fresh perspective, and I believe the Buddhist view of the abortion issue may provide one.
“Buddhism does consider abortion to be the taking of a human life. At the same time, Buddhists generally are reluctant to intervene in a woman’s personal decision to terminate a pregnancy. Buddhism may discourage abortion, but it also discourages imposing rigid moral absolutes.” – Barbara O’Brien
The link above is to a fascinating article about the abortion issue in relevance to the middle path and Buddhist perspective of dealing with the issue. I found it to be most interesting and in fact, most applicable to my own views of the issue. Buddhism philosophies practice viewing specific issues rather than grouping all situations into one all-encompassing category. The current American politik falls victim to this grouping practice by grouping all cases of abortion into one absolute opposition, you either kill the “child” or you don’t kill the “child.” You are either pro-life or pro-choice. This binary opposition creates an absolute attitude that ignores the concept of individual situations and circumstances. No one case is the same just like every individual human being is different. Buddhism chooses to look at abortion on a case by case basis and encourages others to consider moral issues through complex causes, issues, and relationships. (I.e. the difference b/t terminating a pregnancy caused through rape, and pregnancy caused through consensual relations)
I would like to end this post with a quote from a Buddhist monk that has happily plagued my mind since I have read it, “The mind’s greatest disease is being either for or against; the absolute condition of any being is to actively damage the soul.” I think our current government could use a little Buddhism…what do you think?