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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.)   

“佛告首迦:「有十种业能令众生得短命报:
“[Śākyamuni] Buddha told Śuka, ‘There are ten kinds of karmic [actions] that enable sentient beings to attain shortened lives as retribution:

一者,自行杀生;
first, is to personally do the killing of beings;
[This includes self-conducted abortion, including intentional ‘accidental’ miscarriage.]
二者,劝他令杀;
second, is to encourage others to enable killing;
[This includes encouragement of abortion as a false ‘quick fix’ to ‘absolve’ responsibility.]
三者,赞叹杀法;
third, is to praise killing’s method[s];  
[This includes praising methods of abortion as being ‘safe’ and ‘efficient’.]
四者,见杀随喜;
fourth, is to see killing and accordingly rejoice;
[This includes seeing and rejoicing over abortion by doctors, nurses and anyone else.]

五者,於恶憎所,欲令丧灭;
fifth, is, from evil hatred thus, desire enabling of death and destruction;
[This includes having abortion out of resentment.]
六者,见怨灭已,心生欢喜;
sixth, is, seeing the resented destroyed already, the mind giving rise to joy;
[This includes having joy after abortion.]
七者,坏他胎藏;
seventh, is to harm others’ fetus[es] in the[ir] womb[s];
[This includes facilitation of actual abortion.]
八者,教人毁坏;
eighth, is to teach others to destroy and harm;
[This includes teaching of abortion.]

九者,建立天寺,屠杀众生;
ninth, is to build and erect “heavenly” temples, [with misguided] slaughtering sentient beings [as sacrificial “offerings”];
十者,教人战鬥,互相残害。
tenth, is to teach others to have war and fight, to injure and kill each other.

以是十业得短命报。」
These are the ten karmic [actions] that attain shortened lives as retribution.'”

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How To Practise Repentance After Abortion
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/01/how-to-practise-repentance-after-abortion
Should Sick Babies Be Aborted?
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2011/04/should-sick-babies-be-aborted
Do You Eat Aborted Placentas?
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2016/06/are-animal-human-placentas-vegetarian
Is Buddhism Against Birth Control?
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2014/02/is-buddhism-against-birth-control
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https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/01/is-surrogacy-right-in-buddhism

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