Ultimate Responsibility

Abortion QuestionsWhether you agree with the right of women to abort their unborn children, or not, the news that a US doctor has been convicted of killing three babies after their delivery, is shocking and thought provoking in the extreme. Dr Kermit Gosnell performed thousands of abortions over a career spanning three decades, with officials saying that his medical practice earned him about $1.8m a year.

Cause no harm to any sentient being, is the principle at the heart of Buddhist practice, so the act of abortion flies in the face of Buddhist beliefs at the most base level. Having said that, Nichiren Buddhism has no rules, so the decision by anyone, to kill another being, is left in their own hands, albeit that the responsibility for their action must be taken.

Each abortion decision is surrounded by a unique set of circumstances. Maybe the unborn child has been diagnosed with a life-altering illness, maybe the mother is in danger if she continues the pregnancy, the list is infinite. But whatever the situation, the responsibility of termination lies with all those concerned.

The horrific details of this case are fuelling the abortion debate, and will no doubt cause the argument to make the act of abortion illegal to be more strongly heard. Whatever the outcome, it is important that we all recognise that whilst each individual has the right to decide the course of their lives, that as individuals, we have an ultimate responsibility for every thought, word and deed.

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