Abortion is medically defined as the expulsion of a not yet viable foetus in humans as well as animals before the end of pregnancy, during which the foetus is not capable of maintaining an independent existence.
Is abortion a form of killing? To answer this question, we need to understand when life begins. According to Buddhist teachings, the existence of a human being begins from the mind’s “first arising,” that is, from the first moment of the existence of consciousness in a foetus. In other words, life begins from the moment of conception, when an egg is fertilised by a sperm. Hence, abortion is indeed a form of killing.
However, according to Buddhism, abortion is allowed only in situations where it is the most humane alternative; for example, in order to save the life of the mother. But let us be honest, most abortions are performed simply because the pregnancy is inconvenient, or an embarrassment (pre-marital pregnancy or the result of adultery). These are very poor reasons for the destruction of a life.
Abortion is never a good solution to unwanted pregnancies. Prevention is better than cure. Education is the long term solution. Educating couples on sexual responsibility is a better option than destroying a life. Couples entering into sexual activity should think carefully beforehand. Are they ready to bring a new life into this world? Are they financially ready to bring up the child? Sexual activity should not be carried out without long term commitment; that is, if pregnancy occurs, the couple must be responsible for their act of bringing a new life into the world.