Once again, abortion has become a hot topic in the United States. As usual, we have only the two extremes being expressed publicly. The conservative are against abortion for moral reasons, while the progressives view abortion limits as a restriction of a woman’s autonomy.
As this nation – and the world for that matter – continue to progress spiritually, it’s time to look at issues such as abortion from a spiritual viewpoint. I.e., how does abortion fit into the framework of karma and reincarnation? As one might anticipate, the spiritual perspective differs greatly from the traditional conservative standpoint. The main thing to keep in mind is that there are no judgments, but there are potential consequences.
When Life Begins
One of the interesting things I’ve found in spiritual literature is that human life not only ends with breath, but begins with breath as well. In other words, a physical body is incapable of supporting a life unless it is physically breathing. (To be clear, I mean breathing with one’s own lungs, and not via the oxygen supplied from the mother while in the womb.) At this point, it’s necessary to understand what it means to be “alive”. From a spiritual perspective, a physical body is alive once its soul takes full “possession” of the physical body.
This surprised me at first, but it is actually the only way to explain a phenomenon that happens during a “water birth”. If a baby is born in a bathtub, the baby does not have to be pulled out of the water immediately, as at this point there is no danger of drowning. However, as soon as the baby is pulled out of the water and takes its first breath, the baby will drown if put back under water. The reason for this is that until the baby is pulled out of the water, the soul has not fully entered and integrated into the body. Since the baby is therefore not yet alive, it also cannot yet die.
Note that this concept seems to be a logical contradiction of the idea of having memories in the womb. But this is only because when we are incarnated, we identify with our egos instead of our souls. The ego, which includes our emotional and mental subtle bodies, is created as a part of the physical body at the time of conception. And even though the soul does not fully integrate with the physical body until birth, the karma experienced by the unborn child is potentially carried on by that soul even if the body is eventually aborted.
Body and Soul Connection
Incidentally, believing that we are the ego (i.e. that we are our thoughts and emotions) is part of what keeps us stuck in the cycle of reincarnation. This confusion is also what leads people to believe that life begins with conception. But in fact, the combined ego plus body is simply a “shell” that the soul inhabits during its incarnation.
Note that just because the soul of a fetus is not yet integrated in the body, it does not mean that the soul does not have a connection with the mother. On the contrary, the soul is connected to both the mother – as well as its own future body – on the spiritual level.
The last “loose end” to discuss are the movements of the unborn child. It is easy to see why a moving fetus would make people believe that life begins before birth. But such movements are apparently the result of muscle spasms. I realize that this viewpoint could take away some of the joy of pregnancy. I will therefore reemphasize that the soul of the unborn child is present (and can be communicated with). It’s just that the baby’s soul is not yet integrated with the physical body.
The Soul of the Child-to-be
Once a child is conceived, a soul takes on the assignment of becoming that child. The soul actually helps in “creating” the unborn body by helping to build the templates for the physical body on spiritual level. This coupling occurs even when it is known that the unborn child will most likely be aborted.
In the majority of cases, a soul whose body is likely to be aborted is already scheduled to be born in another body before the current one is even aborted. As soon as the unborn child is aborted, the soul will be taken to the new body and spiritually connect with it.
Due to free will, it is always the soul’s decision as to whether or not to take on the experience of being connected with an unborn child that will be aborted. In many cases, the soul will agree to such an experience in order to clear out past karma.
Consequences of Abortion
Regardless of the circumstances involved, all actions have consequences when viewed from a spiritual perspective. Consider the following two cases:
(1) A teenager is raped and becomes pregnant. She believes she is too young to be a mother, and also believes that she would not be able to love the child the way a mother should. Therefore, she wishes to abort the child.
(2) An adult lady has casual sex with an acquaintance and accidentally becomes pregnant. She is not interested in a serious relationship with the father-to-be, nor does she want to keep the child.
From the viewpoint of the pro-choice movement, the woman has the right to abort in both cases. In contrast, pro-life supporters would argue that abortion is morally wrong in either case. Regardless of how you personally feel about the issue, it is likely that you might at least intuitively understand that the consequences of aborting the child in the first scenario will differ from the second.
To fully understand the consequences of one’s behavior, one must understand the law of karma. Most people tend to believe that karma means that if you do something to someone else, such action will eventually be repaid to you in kind. But this is not the full “story”. In addition to the action, it is the motivation behind the action that will also be reciprocated.
Let’s suppose that in both cases above, the two women abort their unborn children. In the first scenario, this means that in another lifetime, it might be necessary for the teenager to experience being aborted by a mother under similar conditions. But since this soul experienced this same scenario, she is likely to be sympathetic with this young woman. Therefore, the karmic consequences of an abortion under such conditions are negligible.
In contrast, the consequences of having an abortion in the second scenario could be more significant. First of all, the ego of the unborn child might “hold a grudge” against the mother for being aborted. There are reported cases where the soul of an unborn child is later born as another child with the same mother. This has resulted in tense relationships between mother and child (although neither one consciously is aware of the reason). I would like to stress, however, that this is not always the case or even the general rule: it is only a possible consequence.
The other thing to be aware of is that the mother may need to (or choose to) experience a similar situation in another lifetime –this time as an aborted child – in order to clear the karma of the previous abortion.
Making the decision
In order to be able to make a mature decision about whether or not to abort a child, there are a couple of necessary preconditions:
1) Abortion must be legal. When women don’t have proper access to have an abortion, it takes the focus away from determining the consequences of an abortion on an individual basis.
2) The positive and negative consequences of both keeping and aborting a child must be fully understood and considered.
Let’s take another look at the 2nd scenario above. If the woman decided to keep the child, it could potentially disrupt her life in a significant way. On the other hand, this child might also become a source of happiness in her life.
Given the possible karmic consequences of having an abortion, one might believe that it would be better for this lady not to have an abortion. But such thinking would be an error. There is in fact no right or wrong decision. In spiritual terms, the key to making a decision is knowing the consequences AND fully accepting them. In any scenario, there will be painful consequences, which means either way the soul will continue its development and journey of self-improvement.
Communicating with the Unborn Soul
An important consideration that is not well-known is that it is possible to mitigate the consequences of an abortion to a degree. Returning once again to the second example, let’s say that the woman hasn’t yet gone through with the abortion. Instead, she first communicates with the unborn child about how she feels about the situation. She tells the soul that she doesn’t feel she is ready to have a baby, and is nervous about not having a partner who can help her raise the child. (Note: communication with the soul can be achieved via mediation or prayer. If the pregnant mother isn’t comfortable with direct communication, she might try employing the help of a trusted acquaintance who is able to communicate with the spirit world.)
In some cases where this has actually happened, the mother may be able to pick up intuitively that the soul has accepted the mother’s decision to abort. I’ve even read about cases in which the soul decided to end the pregnancy via a spontaneous abortion. However, the mother must also be prepared for the scenario that the child will wish to be born anyway. The final decision is still up to the mother-to-be. But no matter the scenario, communication with the soul is well worth considering before making a final decision about abortion.
When a soul chooses its mother, it does so even when the soul knows that the mother may opt for an abortion. Yes, this might potentially negatively impact a future relationship between that soul and the mother in the physical world (until the karma between them is worked out). However, at the spiritual level, the soul only has unconditional love for the mother. Even if the mother opts for an abortion, the soul of that unborn child will be with that mother and love her for eternity. So yes, there are potential karmic consequences of having an abortion, but only on the physical level. At the spiritual level, everything is already forgiven.