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H.P.B. on Abortion

Aug 14, 1995 01:42 PM
by JK1Carp

[A letter and a reply reprinted from the THEOSOPHIST, August
1883, edited by H. P. Blavatsky]

Is Foeticide A Crime?

The articles in your paper headed "Is Suicide a Crime?" have
suggested to my mind to ask another question, "Is Foeticide a
crime?" Not that I personally have any serious doubts about the
unlawfulness of such an act; but the custom prevails to such an
extent in the United States that there are comparatively only few
persons who can see any wrong in it. Medicines for this purpose
are openly advertised and sold; in "respectable families" the
ceremony is regularly performed every year, and the family
physician who should presume to refuse to undertake such a job,
would be peremptorily dismissed, to be replaced by a more
accommodating one.

I have conversed with physicians, who have no more conscientious
scruples to produce an abortion, than to administer a physic; on
the other hand there are certain tracts from orthodox channels
published against this practice; but they are mostly so overdrawn
in describing the "fearful consequences," as to lose their power
over the ordinary reader by virtue of their absurdity.

It must be confessed that there are certain circumstances under
which it might appear that it would be the best thing as well for
the child that is to be born as for the community at large, that
its coming should be prevented.

For instance, in a case where the mother earnestly desires the
destruction of the child, her desire will probably influence the
formation of the character of the child and render him in his
days of maturity a murderer, a jailbird, or a being for whom it
would have been better "if he never had been born."

But if foeticide is justifiable, would it then not be still
better to kill the child after it is born, as then there would be
no danger to the mother; and if it is justifiable to kill
children before or after they are born then the next question
arises: "At what age and under what circumstances is murder

As the above is a question of vast importance for thousands of
people, I should be thankful to see it treated from the
theosophical stand-point.

--An "M.D." F.T.S. George Town, Colorado, USA

*Editor's Note.*--Theosophy in general answers: "At no age as
under no circumstance whatever is murder justifiable!" and occult
Theosophy adds:--"yet it is neither from the stand-point of law,
nor from any argument drawn from one or another orthodox *ism*
that the warning voice is sent forth against the immoral and
dangerous practice, but rather because in occult philosophy both
physiology and psychology show its disastrous consequence."

In the present case, the argument does not deal with the causes
but with the effects produced. Our philosophy goes so far as to
say that, if the Penal Code of most countries punishes attempts
at suicide, it ought, if at all consistent with itself, to doubly
punish foeticide as an attempt to *double suicide*. For, indeed,
when even successful and the mother does not die just then, *it
still shortens her life on earth to prolong it with dreary
percentage in Kamaloka*, the intermediate sphere between the
earth and the region of rest, a place which is no "St. Patrick's
purgatory," but a fact, and a necessary halting place of the
evolution in the degree of life. The crime committed lies
precisely in the willful and sinful destruction of life, and
interference with the operations of nature, hence--with
KARMA--that of the mother and the would-be future human being.
The sin is not regarded by the occultists as one of a *religious*
character,--for, indeed, there is no more of spirit and soul, for
the matter of that, in a foetus or even in a child before it
arrives at self-consciousness, then there is in any other small
animal,--for we deny the absence of soul in either mineral, plant
or beast, and believe but in the difference of degree. But
foeticide is a crime against nature. Of course the skeptic of
whatever class will sneer at our notions and call them absurd
superstitions and "unscientific twaddle." But we do not write for
skeptics. We have been asked to give the views of Theosophy (or
rather of occult philosophy) upon the subject, and we answer the
query as far as we know.

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