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Abortion, Buddhism, Japan, Middle Way, Compassion


This paper takes up the question of whether there is a “middle way” approach in addressing the issue of abortion, particularly in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States. It explores this question through examining how schools of Buddhism have addressed the issue of abortion in Japan, especially considering Japan’s unique history with abortion issues and the mizuko kuyo rituals, and what initially appears to be a gap in theory and practice when it comes to Buddhism and abortion. It further explores how some of the central tenets of Buddhism including karma, rebirth, and compassion relate to the issue of abortion, before concluding that the “middle way” is one that can be found through compassion.