What does Hinduism say about Abortion?


Hinduism is a very ancient religion followed by millions of people around the world. Many mythological values and morals were dictated by the texts to follow and even today people follow them all as such. The content stuffs with the moral instructions given by Hinduism regarding abortion. In general, abortion does not take place in ancient Vedic days hence any definite verse in Vedas does not occur. People in Vedic and ancient days do not prefer abortion because they prefer intercourse unless need a child.

Abortion

A sudden or intended miscarriage of pregnancy is called abortion. Indian law is based on Hindu myths and morals. As per Indian law, abortion irrespective of the growth of the fetus is considered a crime. Indian Penal Code recommends severe punishment for those who perform an abortion without the knowledge of the Government.

Unless the life of the mother is at risk with the continuation of pregnancy or if the pregnancy occurs as the result of rape, abortion is not suggested by the Indian government. Abortion is recommended to be performed by an experienced and registered medical practitioner under medical supervision.

The life of a mother is not challenged due to misguided abortion. Also, the Government recommends abortion done within 24 weeks of gestation period. The fetus does not show definite shape until it reaches 20 weeks, according to medical science. So, terminating a pregnancy within the recommended period does not challenge the mother’s life at risk.

Abortion

Hindu morals to abortion

Now coming back to Hindu myths about abortion, the fetus does not come into life until seven months. So, terminating a pregnancy is accepted till then. Hinduism preaches abortion as a crime or sin that is to punish. The reasons are the same as what is followed in Indian law to terminate a pregnancy. It is just the past and current century facing uncountable abortions and followed health issues. Let us learn more about what the Vedas say about Abortion.

Statistics report the increased death rate to the improper and illegal practice of abortions. Besides the mortality hike, women’s health is at stake which leads to infertility and carcinogenic effects. Unless abortion is carried out to save the mother or fetus’s health, it is considered a sin or crime. Even the women face social critics and condemn for their characterless being.

Vedic verses preaching humanity

Upanishads and their sub-divisions have given several verses that preach humanity. According to Garbha Upanishad, people have intercourse if they are looking for an heir. Unless there is a necessity, people do not intercourse just to gratify their sexual desire even though Garbha Upanishad agrees with the concept. Vice versa, people follow the themes and concepts of Vedas.

Non-violence is the root of Hinduism and the medical ailments. Abortion seems an offensive attack on the mother and father and also the fetus in turn the latter is illegitimate to its parents. Garbha Upanishad and other texts highlight abortion as a sin incomparable to any other crime.

Some texts quote terminating a pregnancy is quite similar to kill one’s parents.

Some other texts preach that aborting a fetus equals killing a priest.

So, terminating a pregnancy seems non-acceptable unless finds medical priority.

Hindu philosophy about abortion

The article descends on the moral values of the Hindu religion regarding abortion. It speaks for the rights of the fetus to live and to escape abortion. Vishnu Purana and Garbha Upanishads highlight key points that begin the debate about terminating pregnancy and continuation of same.

As per Hindu philosophy, a fetus in the womb claims its right to live and incarnate. Terminating fetal development is equal to murder even if abortion claims the goodness of the mother’s life.

Hindu medical text named Caraka Samhita describes humans as a product of soul (Atman) and body or matter (Prakriti). The human physical body is the combination of five Mahabhudas namely earth, fire, space, water, and wind. According to Caraka Samhita, intercourse between unimpaired male reproductive fluid and a generative egg in the womb of a woman lead to the successful formation of the embryo. The fertilized egg starts germinating in the womb of a woman into a fetus right from the point of conception.

Organogenesis of the fetus is discussed in the development view in Caraka Samhita that the body and the spine develop in the fifth month whereas the nose, eyes, and ears show the fulfillment by the sixth month. By the end of the eighth month, there seems completion in every part of the body or matter. However, the development of body parts shows variation indifference the ensoulment of the fetus occurs alive from the very beginning. So, it is definite injustice to terminate the pregnancy at any stage of fetal development.

Vishnu Purana about abortion

Despite Caraka Samhita and its verses about abortion, Vishnu Purana teaches moral values about the ‘’conscious principles’’ of the unborn fetus. Based on karma and the dharma alone the life happening of every human being is designed. The Vishnu Purana explains the suffering of a fetus while residing in the womb. Incarnation and reincarnation of atman are based on karma and dharma the soul owns. The unborn fetus is not just the physical continuation of its mother but gains the remembrance of its previous births.

At the time of birth, thoughts relating to previous births vanish, and the soul is delivered as a holy being. Hence, the unborn fetus is an independent soul departed from its mother’s physical. The mother is just the source of organogenesis but does not overlap the independent being of an unborn fetus. The life of the fetus is framed based on the goodness or badness earned in previous births. Hence, abortion is framed as a grave injustice to the fetus in the mother’s womb.   

Conclusion

Overall view of the article goes in hand with the Hindu scriptures and verses delivered by the religion. Abortion is considered a sin or injustice to the fetus unborn. Hinduism preaches the rights of every being including the unborn fetus to live their desired and deserved lives. It’s karma or dharma either case determines the existence or destruction of the lives not the common man just because medically empowered.

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