When a woman is raped, or suffers from German measles during her pregnancy, possibly leading to a disability to the baby when it is born, is the abortion of a necessary nature sinful?

I’d like to ask you about necessary abortions. For example, when a woman is raped, or suffers from German measles during her pregnancy, possibly leading to a disability to the baby when it is born, is the abortion of a necessary nature sinful or not? https://dmc.tv/a3525

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Mar 12th, 2005 ] - [ read : 13128 ]

 

Question:
Dear Luang Phaw, I’d like to ask you about necessary abortions.  For example, when a woman is raped, or suffers from German measles during her pregnancy, possibly leading to a disability to the baby when it is born, is the abortion of a necessary nature sinful or not?

 


Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku 

You’re asking a question for all daughters and grand daughters. This question is probably on the minds of many people listening to this program, too. On the topic of abortion, if a woman is raped or suffers from German measles or any other diseases during her pregnancy, and she wants to have an abortion, is it sinful or not?

Let’s make this very clear! Abortion is the act of killing a person, and killing is definitely sinful.  You can say “it was not my intention to be pregnant, I was raped.” Yes, the pregnancy was not planned. Even if it were, but you came down with German measles, you might say, “If I carry my baby to full term, I would take the risk of it being born disabled or deformed.” No matter if it’s risky or not, whether you planned for this pregnancy or not, the instant you kill someone it becomes immediately sinful.  Let’s make that perfectly clear first.  Heartlessness has now entered the heart of mankind.

The thing that makes humans above animals is the choice to not kill. What does that mean? Let me first ask, what is it that we love most in our lives? Everybody in the world will have the same answer. It’s our lives. How about others? What do they love most in their lives? It is the same thing, they love their own lives. Not just human beings, but also animals love their lives too if they could answer this same question. But since they have never told us, how would we know? We know because when someone raises their hand or foot in a threatening manner, as if to hurt them, they will flee. This act of fleeing indicates that they love their lives no less than we love ours.  Therefore this means that everybody loves his and her lives.

 

Therefore, we must not kill anyone or anything. Let’s understand this clearly first. If we kill somebody, it means we are sinful and heartless. What if I don’t want the child that is in my womb because I was raped. Whether you want it to be born or not, it’s already in your womb and life has already begun. If you kill it, you are sinful. I can’t have it because I acquired the German measles. If the baby was to be delivered, it would be disabled. So what shall I do then? Whatever disabilities it will have, the value of its life is far greater than that of any animal.

 

Have you ever considered this? Suppose that you experience an accident and break and lose both of your legs. There is a person in our temple who has lost both of their legs.  This is considered a serious disability. In another scenario, perhaps somebody not only loses their legs, but also an eye, and has a deformed hand. With all these misfortunes, should that person turn to suicide? No, because even if we were physically disabled, we could still preserve our thoughts, so our minds is not disabled.  When our minds are not disabled, we still can continue to perform more merit. How? Their mouths are still functional.  They can still chant. Their heads have not collapsed. It is not a serious disability because we still can learn Dhamma. So we should give our babies the opportunity because, even if they were disabled, their condition would still be far better than any animal’s that would have no opportunity to do any of these things.

Therefore, I’d like to tell every future mother to be, no matter what happens to you, no matter if you were raped or sick and, and you are worried that your babies will be disabled, let them come into the world because they too love their lives. Even animals like pigs, dogs, chickens, ants, etc. love their lives, and so does your baby. Let me leave this as being the first thought.

But if they become a societal problem, what shall we do? People, rape is a societal problem and it also is a consequence related to kamma. How? When one is raped, the first thing we have to do is determine whether our conduct was appropriate or not. For instance, if we dress too sexy and reveal too much of our body, the chance of getting raped can surface.

We can dress appropriately, but our conduct can also arouse people. In this world, bad people exist, and we cannot stop their bad thoughts. We can only stop ourselves from doing risky things. Therefore, whoever was raped must determine whether they conducted themselves appropriately or not. We may conduct ourselves appropriately, but have we considered if we went to a suitable place or not? If we already paid attention to everything, determined if we are in a suitable environment or not, and if everything else is fine, it must have occurred because of the retribution of our kamma.  There is nothing that you can do but to try to accept it.  You must not kill anyone or anything because you will gain more demerits. Your retribution from a past misdeed in sexual misconduct was a factor that led you to being raped.  If you kill your baby in this life, you will have additional retribution from the act of killing.  When will your retribution ever end?

Second, if we cannot solve it individually, we may have to look at the family level or the societal level to figure out what is instigating this sexual abuse and misconduct and causing it to become so rampant. For instance, currently people are not careful and are revealing too much of their bodies by the clothes that they wear. Their clothes are revealing more and more of their body. Though they themselves are not raped, it can arouse the desire in others and lead them to sexually molest other women. Things like this can happen. Adult shows, and other inappropriate places which are now popular, can arouse people’s lust and desire easily and cause good people to be raped. This is not only yours or your children’s problem, but it’s a societal problem which requires the government’s attention and intervention.

 

In the second case, if a woman is pregnant and unexpectedly becomes sick, even as we speak, I would like to remind her that she needs to take great care of herself and nurture the baby in her womb as much as possible.  Whatever becomes of it, we have to accept it. Though the baby in her womb may somehow become disabled, its life is still worth far more than an ant’s, termite’s or any other animal. Give it a chance to be born to accumulate merit and perform good deeds. Even if its life might be shorter than others, that is alright too. We should feel sorry for creatures that have lost the opportunity to perform merits and good deeds by the hands of those who are actually their mothers. Let me leave you with this thought.  You should think about this very deeply. Don’t be a murderer.


http://goo.gl/xjhfO


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