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Thoughts on Abortion

Jan 11, 1995 05:35 PM
by Jerry Schueler

These are some comments that I have jotted down on the subject of

Keith: "Specifically, I would like to know what people on this
forum think about the issue of abortion."

I think that it is wrong.  I also think that it is wrong to bring
unwanted and unloved children into the world (there are currently
over 2000 black children awaiting adoption in Baltimore alone).

Keith: "how can we justify abortion."

"We" can't.  Only the mother has this right.  And, she must live
with her decision.

Keith: "Most abortions are obviously selfish, selfish, selfish."

I have to disagree with you here.  There have been numerous
studies on this issue, and none (not a single one) has found a
preponderance of women with selfish motives.  Virtually every
woman that has an abortion does so with great reluctance, sorrow,
regret, and feelings of inadequacy.  They feel, rightly or
wrongly, that it is necessary, and they do not have abortions
casually (I am not a woman and so can't speak for one, but am
simply telling you what I have read in technical journals).  I
don't think I have ever heard a single woman say that "most
abortions are obviously selfish," even those who oppose abortion
know that this is simply not the case.

Keith: " It is my belief that if the laws of KARMA are real.
Those that choose abortion in this incarnation will they
themselves be aborted in their next attempt at incarnation."

So when you see an abortion, how do you know that it is not the
karmic consequence of a past life? Could events that seem to
cause future karma, actually be the results of the past? If we
eliminate abortions, then how can those women who have already
aborted ever be brought to justice? (please note that I say this
with my tongue tightly against my cheek).

Keith: "Of course there are circumstances such as rape, incest,
and danger to the mother's life that justify abortion."

Here we get into a real can of worms, and we enter into the
illogical world of ethics.  Either abortion is wrong or it isn't.
If you can justify it in any way, then we are simply splitting
hairs between the pro-lifers and the abortionists.  If it is OK
for rape and incest, then what about poverty? Where do we draw
the line?

Keith: "The Monad has spent many years rising throught the
subplanes to devachan and each child is a world teacher.  How can
we crucify these holy beings even if they look like a blob of

There is a big difference between a monad and a "blob of cells."
Anyway, the counter arguement here is that if we believe in
reincarnation, then abortion simply makes the monad go off to
find another womb - hardly a crucifixion.  It is only a
crucifixion if we don't believe in reincarnation because then
abortion deprives the soul of its one and only chance at life.

HPB: "for, indeed, there is no more of spirit and soul...  in a
foetus...  than there is in any other small animal."

I believe that what HPB says here is true.  Only the lower parts
of the incoming monad's constitution come into play in the
foetus.  Certainly the foetus has no developed manas, in the
sense of a human mind, for example, albeit the potential is

"The sin"

By labeling abortion as a "sin" (whatever that means) we already
know where the author stands on this issue.  I am against
abortion, but would label it a sin only if we can also label the
act of bringing an unwanted child into this world as a sin as
well.  As a foster parent for many years, with over 50 foster
children under my belt, I can attest to the "sin" of having
unwanted children.  It is a crime that is every bit as vile and
unwholesome, and karmically "bad," as abortion.

Keith: "Is there a monad behind the foetus guiding it's
development or not? "

Yes.  Every physical aggragate on Earth has its guiding monad.
According to Tibetan Buddhism, the reincarnating ego/monad
incarnates at conception - it is karmically drawn to its parents
by the sexual emotions of their coupling.  This is very clear in
the Bardo Thodol, for example.

Keith: " If we are monads, souls, embuded with buddhi throuhout
this mavantara then a body no matter how small doesn't seem to
matter.  Again a body is only a vehicle among vehicles for our
true eternal spiritual selves."

While this sounds simple enough, it is not really such a black
and white issue here.  The size of the foetus has little to do
with anything.  Abortion has more to do with forcing an incoming
monad to seek elsewhere than it does with total deprivation of an
incarnation.  Perhaps by aborting a monad which will be unloved
and unwanted and forcing it to choose another womb where it will
be loved, the mother is actually doing it a favor?

Keith: " it is hard to believe that say and infant is any more
devoid of a spirit or soul than someone in devachan."

I think you are misinterpreting HPB's words here.  The incoming
monad is not "devoid of a spirit or soul." HPB was simply saying
that the higher parts of the monad's constitution are not yet
developed.  A foetus does not think.  It does not reason.  It has
no sense of identity, no personality.  That is all she is saying
in the quote above.  Obviously the potential for these things is
present, but they won't come into play for years.  And without
love, trust, and care, they won't properly develop when they do
come into play.

Keith: "We all know the planet is overpopulated and polluted, it
seemed a noble gesture to reduce population and protect the

This is a cause for birth control, not abortion.  Abortion should
not be used for birth control.  I suspect most theosophists would
agree with this.

Keith: "What do you women theosophist think? Do you really think
we male dogs are trying to control your bodies..."

Although I am not a woman, yes, this is actually what I think.

Keith: "or do you just want to abandon a great gift"

I doubt that there are very many women who would willingly not
have children.  Women are not the problem; our male-dominated
society is - women are almost forced to go to work while most
would much rather stay home and have and take care of children.
Today most women must decide one way or the other, while men can
have a family and a career both.

Keith: "It seems that women want to be a caricature of the very
worst in man rather than the very best of humanity (whether male
or female)."

Surely you don't really believe this sexist baloney.  Perhaps
your negative feelings about women needs to cool down a bit? You
seem to be projecting your feelings about your biological mother
onto all women (?).

Keith: "The best I can do is be creative, but women bear the gift
of being the gateway to entering souls!"

Women are only the gateway for the physical body of such souls.
Children are not owned, but only borrowed till they grow up.
Having children is much more than a biological function.  It also
demands love, patience, and unselfish devotion and sacrifice on
both the mother and the father's part.  I am not the least bit
envious of my wife's ability to have children (it hurts a lot).
But once the child is born, he/she is the karmic repsonsibility
of both parents.

Daniel: "when does a fetus become a human being?"

At conception.  We can argue over when manas expresses itself,
and so on, but I believe that conception is when the imbodying
monad enters into physicality and begins to form its physical

Daniel: " is an abortion "murder" or just a "choice"?

It is both.  The real question here is whether the "murder" is
justified by forcing the incoming monad into (hopefully) a better

Daniel: "Some might say: if people (especially teenagers) were
less promiscuous and "controlled" their sexual behavior or
abstained from sex altogether we would not have as many ujwanted
pregnancies and therefore less abortions."

Does anyone know one single teenager with whom this technique has
worked? I don't.  This attitude is exactly what many
fundamentalists have toward gays who get AIDS (they consider AIDS
as divine retribution).

Daniel: "What does Theosophy say about "sexuality", the role of
sex in the live of an individual? What is the role of morality
and personal ethics in these questins of sex?

A few years ago, the Cokers and I (and maybe some others, Kim I
think?) got together on PeaceNet and wrote a long and pithy essay
on just where modern theosophists should stand on the whole
question of sex.  We quoted all of the latest scientific
findings, and so on.  It was printed in full in Ralph Nurrie's
Theosophical Network.  Needless to say, it inspired more feedback
than any other article his newspaper ever published in its short
but glorious lifetime - each and every one soundly against our
position.  We were way way too liberal for the theosophical
community - which, I found out, is highly conservative.  Sex is
for having babies.  Period.  And only now in this short age of a
paltry few millions of years - later when the two sexes merge
into one hermaphroditic body, we will no longer have or need
sexual contact and thus we should take cold showers for the next
hundred lifetimes.  Birth control equals total abstenance.  etc.
Most of the criticisms were better than the Catholic Church could
have said it.  We all pulled up our tails, so to speak, and went
on to other, more prosperous, subjects.  I personally wouldn't
advise you to open this Pandora's Box here on theos-l.  (while I
am, I admit, trying to be humorous here, the facts are exactly as
I have outlined them).

Daniel: "What role could "self-discipline" play in averting some
of the results of a person's desire for immediate sexual

Little.  I suspect that if John Doe had enough self-discipline to
control his sex drive, I would find myself on another planet, or
be dreaming.  In short - not in my lifetime.  However,
self-discipline has little effect when the jelly or pill doesn't
work or the condom has a hole in it.  I don't see a large
relationship between abortion and the desire for immediate sexual
gratification.  You seem to be assuming that only those women get
pregnant who give in to immediate sexual gratification.  Lots of
married women get pregnant too.

My Personal Summary.  Abortion is a difficult decision for any
woman to have to make.  On the one hand she kills an unborn child
and gets "bad" karma, while on the other hand she brings another
child into the world that she can't, for one reason or another,
give proper care to, and thus gets "bad" karma.  It is, in fact,
a lose-lose proposition.  Only the individual woman, with her
unique background and karma, can make that decision - but the
choices are bad either way she goes.  The decision to have the
child and give it up for adoption is probably the best approach,
but still not without its karma.  I sometimes feel glad to be
male, and not have to make such an aweful decision myself.  I
feel very sorry for those women who have to decide.  They have to
live with whatever choice they make.

                    Jerry S.

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