Question: Did the Buddha teach that abortion should be avoided?
Answer: Yes, as killing of sentient beings is generally discouraged throughout the Buddha’s teachings, while the first to eight kinds of negative karmic actions listed below in 佛为首迦长者说业报差别经 (The Sūtra In Which The Buddha For The Elder Śuka Spoke Of Karmic Retribution’s Differences) leading to shorter lives are both direct and indirect teachings against abortion. (Note that the taking of a precious human life, if not repented in time, might lead to rebirth in the hells after a shortened life too, as the negative karma created is especially grave.)
“[Śākyamuni] Buddha told Śuka, ‘There are ten kinds of karmic [actions] that enable sentient beings to attain shortened lives as retribution:
first, is to personally do the killing of beings;
[This includes self-conducted abortion, including intentional ‘accidental’ miscarriage.]
second, is to encourage others to enable killing;
[This includes encouragement of abortion as a false ‘quick fix’ to ‘absolve’ responsibility.]
third, is to praise killing’s method[s];
[This includes praising methods of abortion as being ‘safe’ and ‘efficient’.]
fourth, is to see killing and accordingly rejoice;
[This includes seeing and rejoicing over abortion by doctors, nurses and anyone else.]
fifth, is, from evil hatred thus, desire enabling of death and destruction;
[This includes having abortion out of resentment.]
sixth, is, seeing the resented destroyed already, the mind giving rise to joy;
[This includes having joy after abortion.]
seventh, is to harm others’ fetus[es] in the[ir] womb[s];
[This includes facilitation of actual abortion.]
eighth, is to teach others to destroy and harm;
[This includes teaching of abortion.]
ninth, is to build and erect “heavenly” temples, [with misguided] slaughtering sentient beings [as sacrificial “offerings”];
tenth, is to teach others to have war and fight, to injure and kill each other.
These are the ten karmic [actions] that attain shortened lives as retribution.'”
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