Judaism and Buddhism- Abortion

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Two religions that have similar but different view on abortion are Judaism and Buddhism. Abortion in modern day is something that is becoming more frequent, however religion is a very old and traditional. So one thing that people could be struggling with is the combination of living in a modernized world practicing a very traditional way of living. When someone is considering abortion something that they turn to is religion, however since most religions are traditional it would be assumed that the religion in question would be against the idea.

Judaism- The sacred text does not quote on abortion however other websites quote on similar topics
- "And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide."
(Koukl, Stand to Reason)
This quote is somewhat about abortion, if a man would hit his pregnant wife and she had a miscarriage he would have to pay whatever price his wife wanted, and he would go to court. Its very self explanatory and seems fair.

Judaism- The sacred text does not quote on abortion however other websites quote on similar topics
"A fetus is a potential life, so we are not allowed to kill a fetus. However, if the fetus is endangering the mother's life and the only way to protect the mother is by taking the life of the fetus, then we must do so."
(Freedman, Torah's views on abortion) )
This is where the Judaism religion changes its views on abortion, they say that if the baby is endangering the mothers life and the only way to make sure the mother lives is by terminating the baby then its necessary. However once the baby has entered the world, even if its just a head then the idea of termination to save the mother is gone. Since the baby is now breathing on his/her own, and is equal to his/her mother.

Buddhism- "when there is no birth there is no old age or death"

(Warren, p.201)

What this quote is talking about is that when a baby is terminated, whoever caused the termination is preventing rebirth. Since when one is born they live until their death but are then reborn, when a baby is not born they cannot be reborn. Which would mean they would never see the world, which in the Buddhist religion is something that is very important.

Buddhism- "But how do we know that existence is the dependence of birth?"
This quote could go in many different ways, one possible way to view this quote is that what they're saying is that the dependance of birth does not need to be represented by an actual human being. For example if a fetus is lost in womb naturally then family might carry on the baby's life, maybe by setting a spot for them at the table or keeping a spare room. Sometimes parents will keep the remains in a box or the ashes in an urn and display the box or urn on a mantel so that their child is still there. This quote is very broad and could be analyzed in other ways, but this is one way to view the quote.
(Sacred text of Buddhism)

Conclusion: The difference between these two religions is that if a mother is being harmed by the baby, and the only way to save be would be two terminate the baby. Judaism believes that saving the mother is a top priority, even if it means termination. Buddhist's see it differently, the baby deserves the opportunity to live even if the child in question has a deformity or a disability. If the mother is in danger and dies from the birth then she will be reborn, but terminating the baby would mean no rebirth at all. When questioning the choice of abortion and if someone consults how their religion sees abortion, one would only find the fact that abortion is wrong. One wouldn't find a pro-abortion section, therefore consulting the text wouldn't help. However consulting a rabbi, priest, pastor, rector, or any other sort of professional in a certain religion.

Koukl, Gregory. "Subfooter Right." Stand to Reason. N.p., 2002. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

Buddhism in Translations - § 36. Birth Etc." Buddhism in Translations. Trans. Henry C. Warren. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Buddhism in Translations - § 36. Birth Etc. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

Freedman, Tzvi. "What Is the Torah's View on Abortion?" - Questions & Answers. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.


Judaism- "As a general rule, abortion in Judaism is permitted only if there is a direct threat to the life of the mother by carrying the fetus to term or through the act of childbirth."

Buddhism- "The first of the precepts is to abstain from destroying life, both human and animal. Breaking this precept brings negative karmic consequences that lead to an unfavorable rebirth."

Judaism- "In most circumstances, the fetus is treated like any other "person." Generally, one may not deliberately harm a fetus. But while it would seem obvious that Judaism holds accountable one who purposefully causes a woman to miscarry, sanctions are even placed upon one who strikes a pregnant woman causing an unintentional miscarriage."

Buddhism- "One who destroys a life unintentionally or one who intends to destroy a life but is unsuccessful suffers less karmic consequence than one who intends to destroy a life and actually destroys it. Abortion necessarily includes the intention of taking a life, and almost always results in the destruction of that life. Thus, abortion is essentially always morally wrong in Buddhism."

Judaism- "That is not to say that all rabbinical authorities consider abortion to be murder. The fact that the Torah requires a monetary payment for causing a miscarriage is interpreted by some Rabbis to indicate that abortion is not a capital crime"

Buddhism- "What if the fetus is deformed or handicapped? Buddhists believe that handicapped individuals can have meaningful lives"