Abortion & Ahimsa

Applying the Dharma to social justice issues – race, religion, sexuality and identity
Presto Kensho
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Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Presto Kensho » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:35 am

Ahimsa or nonviolence is a central concept of Indian religions, including Buddhism. Here are the words of Mahatma Gandhi, perhaps the twentieth century's greatest teacher of nonviolence and an admirer of the Buddha on abortion:
The essence of goodness is: to preserve life, promote life, help life to achieve its highest destiny. The essence of evil is: destroy life, harm life, and hamper the development of life. It seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime.
https://www.liveaction.org/news/mahatma-gandhi-pro-life
The original meaning of the term "liberal" is someone who believes in individual rights, and I can't imagine a right more fundamental than the right to life of the most innocent and vulnerable, especially when they are capable of feeling pain in the womb. While Trump might be an annoying blowhard, what is his record on the right to life?

Bundokji
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Bundokji » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:07 am

The term liberal is also associated with generosity in the sense that it allows a higher margin of freedom to the individual as long as it does not affect the freedom of other individuals. One of the aspects that makes abortion a debatable issue is to what extent a fetus can be considered an independent individual?

This rationale has reasoning behind it. Here, few distinctions can be made:

1- We have a natural bias towards our own species. Killing an individual human is more blameworthy than killing a mosquito that tries to suck our blood.
2- What makes humans independent individuals is the extent to which they act and behave reflexively. Usually, the ability to recognize oneself in the mirror is a measure of reflexivity which makes humans unique. Human infants begin to develop certain abilities indicative of self awareness at 12 months old:
From the ages of 6 to 12 months, the child typically sees a "sociable playmate" in the mirror's reflection. Self-admiring and embarrassment usually begin at 12 months, and at 14 to 20 months, most children demonstrate avoidance behaviours.[79] Finally, at 18 months, half of children recognise the reflection in the mirror as their own[80] and by 20 to 24 months, self-recognition climbs to 65%. Children do so by evincing mark-directed behaviour; they touch their own noses or try to wipe the marks off.[79]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test

3- The moral implications of the above is linked to the suffering associated with death that goes beyond physical pain and instinctive fear. The fear of death cannot be separated from the idea of self-annihilation, and self-annihilation cannot be separated from reflexive consciousness that is able to re-cognize (and therefore imagine) a self to be annihilated.

4- A reflexive consciousness is also associated with a mature sense of time (memory) which is the ability to use the past to project the future, which is essential to the function of volition. The more an individual has volition, the more he/she is considered independent.

5- The fetus is not independent from the mother, but dependent on her. She is more an independent individual than the fetus is, and therefore more responsible of her actions, and therefore her ownership of her body is more mature and recognized by others, and her right to use her body is recognized by the law.

6- The first act of independence, which is dependent on social reflexivity is what we describe as birth. When the baby leaves the mother's womb, the infant is separated from his/her mother which is the beginning of recognizing him/her as independent being by others, which is the beginning of the process of self recognition by the baby itself. The moral and legal responsibilities of the new member of the human family develops in parallel with his/her ability to act willfully or reflexively.

7- One can safely assume that when religions opposed abortion, they probably utilized different type of epistemology than the one running worldly affairs. Meditative knowledge might reach aspects of reality that goes beyond mundane morality and worldly laws. But as far as logic, morality and law are concerned, and considering the changes in human society which equated females with males in the market place, modern societies became more tolerant of abortion than ever before.
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

Presto Kensho
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Presto Kensho » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:11 pm

Are you aware of whether or not unborn children can feel pain from an abortion? Would that matter to you?

Roe vs. Wade, from a legal perspective, was bad precedent, since nowhere does the Constitution guarantee a right to an abortion. The Supreme Court, in this instance, legislated from the bench.

If this bad legal decision were repealed, it would again be up to individual states to form their own abortion laws. Why should Kentucky, by judicial fiat, have the same abortion laws as California?

Furthermore, the problem isn't just that Democrats support abortion rights in rare and tragic circumstances. Democrats want unrestricted abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, and for our tax dollars to pay for it.

Bundokji
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Bundokji » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:59 pm

The issue has less to do with pain and more to do with suffering to equate abortion with killing. Mental suffering as the fear of annihilation seems to begin with birth. Probably a fetus mental state is of clinging and becoming which precedes birth according to Paticca-samuppada. At least, they will be spared aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair that comes with fully functioning persona ... at least for a time.

In the US, everything seems to be politicized these days, including abortion.
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

Jason
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Jason » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:32 pm

I'm sympathetic to those who view abortion to be morally wrong and a violation of the first precept. That said, my own position on abortion has evolved over time. I was more or less what you'd call 'pro-life' early on, politically and in relation to the first precept due to my rather strict, absolutist interpretation the precepts, but have since become pro-choice politically and have also taken a more nuanced position in terms of the first precept due to a fair amount of thought and discussion about the subject.

My position on the former has change in that I now believe in a woman's right to choose for the simple fact that the fertilized egg/embryo is, for all intents and purposes, a part of her body, and no one should have the right to tell another person what to do with their own body. And taken in context of other laws and how women have historically been treated, I see anti-abortion laws as more about controlling women's bodies than protecting life. Women shouldn't be forced to give birth if they choose not to for whatever reason. Women should have complete control of their bodies and their healthcare decisions. And a vast majority of Americans, up to 70%, agree with this and are in favour of Roe v Wade. Also, having abortion legally available and easily accessible makes it safer for women. Without it being so, women who aren't ready to have children, are impregnated against their will, etc. will either be forced to have unwanted children or to rely on alternative and often unsafe methods of terminating pregnancies, e.g., herbal abortifacients that may be toxic; illegal and unsafe 'back-alley' abortions (which result in an estimated 70,000 deaths per year worldwide); etc. I think it's much more important to provide comprehensive sex ed and easy access to things that actually help prevent unwanted pregnancies like birth control.

As for the latter, my position has changed for three main reasons: First, the idea that life begins at conception (i.e., that consciousness immediate arises) is debatable. Second, I interpret the precepts more like guidelines or training rules than commandments. Third, a full breach of the precept depends on the intention and perception of the individual terminating an unwanted pregnancy.

Regarding the issue of conception and the moment when consciousness arises in an embryo, I think that Ajahn Brahmavamso makes some good points in support of his view that fertilized ova and very early embryos outside the mother's womb aren't reckoned as human life because they lack sensitivity to painful or pleasant stimuli. In his words, "[O]nly when the embryo-fetus first shows sensitivity to pleasure and pain (vedana) and first shows will (such as by a purposeful shrinking away from a painful stimulus) has consciousness and nama-rupa first manifested and the new human life started." There's still a fair amount of controversy over this subject, though, because the Buddha himself never explicitly states when consciousness arises in an embryo; although he does state in MN 38 that "the descent of the embryo" requires the union of three things: (1) the union of the mother and the father, (2) the mother is in season (i.e., fertile egg), and (3) the gandhabba is present. It should be noted, however, that this last term has engendered a fair amount of controversy itself.

Gandhabba generally refers to a class of devas or 'heavenly being,' and the term in relation to rebirth isn't explained anywhere in the Suttas. In fact, it only occurs in one other place in a similar context. Some, such as Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, translate it as 'sperm' or 'seed' based on its association with fragrant substances like flowers (the stem gandha meaning 'scent'); but that's not how it's traditionally been defined in this context. Bhikkhu Bodhi, for example, believes that the traditional interpretation of gandhabba as the being-to-be's 'stream of consciousness' (vinnanasota) is a reasonable one, mostly stemming from the passage in DN 15 that mentions consciousness "descending into the mothers' womb" (The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, n. 411).

But since the Pali Canon is rather vague when it comes to conception and the arising of consciousness, it can also be reasonably argued that sentient life begins at conception (e.g., Ajahn Sujato's essay, "When Life Begins") and that things like abortion and the use of emergency contraception may transgress the first precept. In essence, there's no way to be absolutely sure of the moment when consciousness arises in an embryo simply going by what the Pali literature has to say on the matter.

Worst case scenario, I'd say that having an abortion can be considered a violation of the first precept assuming that there's some level of consciousness present in the embryo at such an early stage (which is a mighty big assumption since there's basically just rupa, matter, and no perceptible sense organs, and most likely no thoughts, perceptions, volitions, or even consciousness); but I certainly wouldn't consider it unethical or evil unless the intent behind it was truly malicious ("Intention, I tell you, is kamma" (AN 6.63)). However, in the end, I think the answer really comes down to how we choose to view embryos — whether as a collection of cells, potential living beings, or both — and this is where I think that science should come into play more than some ancient religious texts, which I believe actually has a lot of bearing on how abortion is perceived in relation to the first precept and its ethical implications.

As Bhikkhu Bodhi notes in his tract, "Taking the Precepts," a full violation of the first precept involves five factors: (1) a living being; (2) the perception of the living being as such; (3) the thought or volition of killing; (4) the appropriate effort; and (5) the actual death of the being as a result of the action. Therefore, if there's no perception of a living being, only a small collection of dividing cells that have yet to develop into one, then there's no violation of the first precept, or at least not a full one. And even assuming that it is, Buddhist ethics aren't entirely black or white, i.e., they aren't seen in terms of ethical and unethical or good and evil as much as skillful and unskillful, and intention plays an important role in determining whether an action is one or the other.

In Buddhism, all intentional actions are understood to have potential consequences, and actions that cause harm to others and/or ourselves are considered to be unskillful and something to be avoided. But the Buddha never condemns people merely for making unskillful choices or breaking the precepts; he simply urges them (albeit with strong language sometimes) to learn from their mistakes and to make an effort to renounce their unskillful behaviour with the understanding that skillful behaviour leads to long-term welfare and happiness. And I understand those who see things like abortion as being harmful to a potentially living being and who would personally seek to refrain from anything that would impede or prevent the natural unfolding of that process. But I think that, in this case, we must balance out that view with the personal rights of the person who is pregnant. And I don't think that the state should force anyone who is to give birth against their will, which itself could be a form of harm.

It's true that, in the US, abortion isn't specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment protects a woman's liberty and right to privacy, which therefore grants women choice over their bodies and all healthcare and reproductive decisions within the bounds of US law. And I have come to agree with that ruling and respect an individual's right to make their own reproductive choices. Not only from a legal perspective, but an ethical one.

Bundokji
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Bundokji » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:14 pm

Thanks Jason for your interesting and informative input in relation to this topic :namaste:
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

Presto Kensho
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Presto Kensho » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:22 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:59 pm
In the US, everything seems to be politicized these days, including abortion.
If the bad legal decision of Roe vs. Wade were repealed, abortion would no longer be an issue for national electoral politics. Before the Roe decision, individual states were left to form their own abortion laws.

Nowhere does the Constitution guarantee a right to abortion, and neither did Congress pass a law that legalized abortion in all fifty states, without any restrictions whatsoever. Roe was a case of unconstitutional judicial activism, plain and simple.

The right to privacy isn't mentioned in the Constitution in the way abortion advocates claim that it is, and unrestricted access to abortion in all fifty states by judicial fiat is not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.

When the unborn child is capable of feeling pain, abortion is clearly in violation of the first precept, as well as the right to life guaranteed by our country's founding documents.

Even if you, for whatever reason, agree with the Roe decision, why would it be a good idea to repeal the Hyde amendment and allow for federal funding of abortion, as Democrats insist on doing today?

Bundokji
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Bundokji » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:35 pm

Presto Kensho wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:22 pm
If the bad legal decision of Roe vs. Wade were repealed, abortion would no longer be an issue for national electoral politics. Before the Roe decision, individual states were left to form their own abortion laws.

Nowhere does the Constitution guarantee a right to abortion, and neither did Congress pass a law that legalized abortion in all fifty states, without any restrictions whatsoever. Roe was a case of unconstitutional judicial activism, plain and simple.
But even if abortion was left to the states, it would have remained a public issue rather than for individual women to decide.

The advantage of making it an individual choice is that it goes against the two extremes of banning it or making it compulsory as a part of nations demographic planning such as in the case of China. Legalizing here means decriminalizing the act of abortion, which is closer to being neutral as a country rather than intervening with personal choices of individuals.
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

Presto Kensho
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Presto Kensho » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:35 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:35 pm
Presto Kensho wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:22 pm
If the bad legal decision of Roe vs. Wade were repealed, abortion would no longer be an issue for national electoral politics. Before the Roe decision, individual states were left to form their own abortion laws.

Nowhere does the Constitution guarantee a right to abortion, and neither did Congress pass a law that legalized abortion in all fifty states, without any restrictions whatsoever. Roe was a case of unconstitutional judicial activism, plain and simple.
But even if abortion was left to the states, it would have remained a public issue rather than for individual women to decide.

The advantage of making it an individual choice is that it goes against the two extremes of banning it or making it compulsory as a part of nations demographic planning such as in the case of China. Legalizing here means decriminalizing the act of abortion, which is closer to being neutral as a country rather than intervening with personal choices of individuals.
Democrats used to say that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, only used as a last resort in the most tragic of circumstances. Now Democrats say that women should cheer their abortion, that our tax dollars should pay for it, and that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever through all nine months of pregnancy. Democrats have gone far beyond abortion as a personal choice in rare circumstances to promoting abortion as a public good.

Bundokji
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Bundokji » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:08 pm

Presto Kensho wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:35 pm
Democrats used to say that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, only used as a last resort in the most tragic of circumstances. Now Democrats say that women should cheer their abortion, that our tax dollars should pay for it, and that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever through all nine months of pregnancy. Democrats have gone far beyond abortion as a personal choice in rare circumstances to promoting abortion as a public good.
What you are describing seems to be more of an ideology than a policy and a law. There is always a market place for ideas that attempts to influence individuals. And yet, influencing is not "forcing" considering that other ideological influences still exist and can compete.

It might make the whole thing more understandable if we link it to the spirit of our modern age. Technological advancements have reduced the gap between men and women in the market place when muscles became less useful. This, as well as the invention of contraception affected family traditional roles when motherhood used to be highly valued as a part of an old system of dividing labor. I think many of those who support abortion and link it to public good have a certain view of what public good is. In their view, public good is letting go of an old patriarchal unfair system that oppressed women for ages as they believe. Why should women bear the responsibility of blind natural forces that made them get pregnant when they can succeed in the new market place and compete with men? The old security that kids used to provide can now be replaced with money from successful employment and social security. Human imagination can be very creative when rationalizing and justifying. It can also be argued that abortion can help reduce the unsustainable population growth and protect the environment. :soapbox:

What makes the whole thing self-fulfilling is that the same system which tries to find value in human life by abandoning tradition seems to make human life appear even more worthless moving forward, which would encourage more women to let go of unwanted worms (embryos) in their bodies through abortion and getting closer to the desired public good in the process. :stir:
'Too much knowledge leads to scepticism. Early devotees are the likeliest apostates, as early sinners are senile saints.' – Will Durant.

Jason
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Jason » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:23 pm

Presto Kensho wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:35 pm
Democrats used to say that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, only used as a last resort in the most tragic of circumstances. Now Democrats say that women should cheer their abortion, that our tax dollars should pay for it, and that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever through all nine months of pregnancy. Democrats have gone far beyond abortion as a personal choice in rare circumstances to promoting abortion as a public good.
So basically this is just a partisan rant against the Democratic Party?

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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Presto Kensho » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:29 pm

Jason wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:23 pm
Presto Kensho wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:35 pm
Democrats used to say that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, only used as a last resort in the most tragic of circumstances. Now Democrats say that women should cheer their abortion, that our tax dollars should pay for it, and that there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever through all nine months of pregnancy. Democrats have gone far beyond abortion as a personal choice in rare circumstances to promoting abortion as a public good.
So basically this is just a partisan rant against the Democratic Party?
Which Democratic Party? The party of Bill Clinton the centrist or of today's radical left?

I intended on supporting Joe Biden until he flipflopped on the Hyde amendment, after decades of supporting it in the Senate.

The only reason why he supports federal funding of abortion now is that he caved to the radical left to win the primaries.

Jason
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Jason » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:53 pm

Not radical enough. Still can't even get them to fully support universal healthcare.

Presto Kensho
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Presto Kensho » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:19 pm

Jason wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:53 pm
Not radical enough. Still can't even get them to fully support universal healthcare.
Why should abortion be funded by the federal government, when half the population would strongly object to it?

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by lyndon taylor » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:39 pm

if you're against abortion, don't have an abortion, you don't have a right to enforce your beliefs on people that don't believe like you do, though.

Jason
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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Jason » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:30 pm

Presto Kensho wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:19 pm
Jason wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:53 pm
Not radical enough. Still can't even get them to fully support universal healthcare.
Why should abortion be funded by the federal government, when half the population would strongly object to it?
I think healthcare should be universal and considered a human right. And reproductive healthcare is an aspect of healthcare and should also be universally accessible in my opinion. In essence, I don't think that only wealthy people should have the ability to get the care they want and need, whereas now many states have made it prohibitively difficult for people to get certain kinds of healthcare, with many insurance companies refusing to cover certain kinds of care. Abortion services is just one example. Birth control is another. Transgender people also have a difficult time acquiring the healthcare that they need.

In the end, I agree with lyndon taylor that "if you're against abortion, don't have an abortion." Although, to your point of being upset at federal funds going to certain things, I do wish we had a way to democratically decide where our tax dollars went. I'd certainly put most of mine towards things like education, healthcare, and green projects instead of the lion's share of it going to the military.

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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Nicholas » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:33 am

The notion of when life "begins" has nothing to do with killing karma. If I see a snail in front of my path and I deliberately stomp it to death; then when the snail's life began is not relevant.

For an individual human which has an almost endless series of lives, the interruption or cancelling of karma fruition, skillful or not, is the crime. When an adult human is deliberately murdered by the death penalty or any other cause, do we ponder about "when life began"? Of course not.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Buddhas.

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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by DNS » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:36 am

Bundokji wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:07 am
The term liberal is also associated with generosity in the sense that it allows a higher margin of freedom to the individual as long as it does not affect the freedom of other individuals. One of the aspects that makes abortion a debatable issue is to what extent a fetus can be considered an independent individual?

This rationale has reasoning behind it. Here, few distinctions can be made:

1- We have a natural bias towards our own species. Killing an individual human is more blameworthy than killing a mosquito that tries to suck our blood.
2- What makes humans independent individuals is the extent to which they act and behave reflexively. Usually, the ability to recognize oneself in the mirror is a measure of reflexivity which makes humans unique. Human infants begin to develop certain abilities indicative of self awareness at 12 months old:
From the ages of 6 to 12 months, the child typically sees a "sociable playmate" in the mirror's reflection. Self-admiring and embarrassment usually begin at 12 months, and at 14 to 20 months, most children demonstrate avoidance behaviours.[79] Finally, at 18 months, half of children recognise the reflection in the mirror as their own[80] and by 20 to 24 months, self-recognition climbs to 65%. Children do so by evincing mark-directed behaviour; they touch their own noses or try to wipe the marks off.[79]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test
The mirror test is interesting for analyzing the development and degree of consciousness in humans and other animals. There are quite a few animal species that pass the mirror test as well as many that do not. If we used this standard, clearly a fetus does not pass the test.
Bundokji wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:59 pm
In the US, everything seems to be politicized these days, including abortion.
That's for sure, for example those who are anti-abortion (pro-life) are clearly the conservatives. Those who are pro-choice are the liberals/progressives. As a Buddhist and vegan, I'm opposed to all killings, human or animal. But it's rare to find someone who is both pro-life and vegan (although there are some). If you look at a fetus from sonograms, one can see that they look more like an animal than a human. For example, they have a protruding tail that eventually enters the body as the tail bone. It is virtually impossible to see a difference between a human fetus of about 1 to 2 months from another primate or other mammal.

If we ban all abortions, should killing animals (including slaughterhouses) be banned too? Most conservatives would be opposed to that, as they believe eating meat should be allowed if they so choose. Most liberals/progressives would also be opposed to that, as they are pro-choice (regarding abortions) and believe it is a woman's choice. Perhaps the only consistent ones in this regard (complete ahimsa) are the vegan pro-lifers, the few of those, that is. :tongue:

Or another consistent standard could be to be morally opposed to both (meat eating and abortion), but allowing a pro-choice method in terms of the laws. Or to find no moral violation in either and be pro-choice on both issues.

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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Jason » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:53 am

Nicholas wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:33 am
The notion of when life "begins" has nothing to do with killing karma. If I see a snail in front of my path and I deliberately stomp it to death; then when the snail's life began is not relevant.

For an individual human which has an almost endless series of lives, the interruption or cancelling of karma fruition, skillful or not, is the crime. When an adult human is deliberately murdered by the death penalty or any other cause, do we ponder about "when life began"? Of course not.
If it doesn't matter, would you consider someone who cracks open an egg guilty of killing?

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Re: Abortion & Ahimsa

Post by Jason » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:09 am

DNS wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:36 am
Bundokji wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:07 am
The term liberal is also associated with generosity in the sense that it allows a higher margin of freedom to the individual as long as it does not affect the freedom of other individuals. One of the aspects that makes abortion a debatable issue is to what extent a fetus can be considered an independent individual?

This rationale has reasoning behind it. Here, few distinctions can be made:

1- We have a natural bias towards our own species. Killing an individual human is more blameworthy than killing a mosquito that tries to suck our blood.
2- What makes humans independent individuals is the extent to which they act and behave reflexively. Usually, the ability to recognize oneself in the mirror is a measure of reflexivity which makes humans unique. Human infants begin to develop certain abilities indicative of self awareness at 12 months old:
From the ages of 6 to 12 months, the child typically sees a "sociable playmate" in the mirror's reflection. Self-admiring and embarrassment usually begin at 12 months, and at 14 to 20 months, most children demonstrate avoidance behaviours.[79] Finally, at 18 months, half of children recognise the reflection in the mirror as their own[80] and by 20 to 24 months, self-recognition climbs to 65%. Children do so by evincing mark-directed behaviour; they touch their own noses or try to wipe the marks off.[79]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test
The mirror test is interesting for analyzing the development and degree of consciousness in humans and other animals. There are quite a few animal species that pass the mirror test as well as many that do not. If we used this standard, clearly a fetus does not pass the test.
Bundokji wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:59 pm
In the US, everything seems to be politicized these days, including abortion.
That's for sure, for example those who are anti-abortion (pro-life) are clearly the conservatives. Those who are pro-choice are the liberals/progressives. As a Buddhist and vegan, I'm opposed to all killings, human or animal. But it's rare to find someone who is both pro-life and vegan (although there are some). If you look at a fetus from sonograms, one can see that they look more like an animal than a human. For example, they have a protruding tail that eventually enters the body as the tail bone. It is virtually impossible to see a difference between a human fetus of about 1 to 2 months from another primate or other mammal.

If we ban all abortions, should killing animals (including slaughterhouses) be banned too? Most conservatives would be opposed to that, as they believe eating meat should be allowed if they so choose. Most liberals/progressives would also be opposed to that, as they are pro-choice (regarding abortions) and believe it is a woman's choice. Perhaps the only consistent ones in this regard (complete ahimsa) are the vegan pro-lifers, the few of those, that is. :tongue:

Or another consistent standard could be to be morally opposed to both (meat eating and abortion), but allowing a pro-choice method in terms of the laws. Or to find no moral violation in either and be pro-choice on both issues.
I would certainly place myself on the choice side, as many people have conflicting morals and POVs and I certainly don't support the imposition of hyper-restrictive, theocratic laws governing the whole of society. However, I also think that we should try to make alternatives to things we find personally objectionable much easier to get. I support expanding vegetarian and vegan options and making them more affordable for everyone to help limit meat eating, just as I support things like comprehensive sex ed, free and easy access to contraception, etc. that would help to limit unwanted pregnancies.

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