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Abortion (Hinduism)

Part of the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions book series (EIR)

Introduction

Abortion is the intentional, voluntary, and conscious termination of the fetus. To understand the view toward abortion in Hinduism, we will refer to the two main forms of Hindu texts: Shruti and Smriti. Shruti refers to the canonical Hindu texts like Vedas and Upanishads, whereas Smriti refers to Dharamsastras, puranas, and texts like Mahabharata. In Hinduism absence of one single canonical and authoritative text makes us look at a varied range of texts with differing philosophical perspectives. Also, this ensures that the idea of right and wrong, sacred and profane, and acts permitted and banned has to be identified through readings of multiple texts.

Defining Abortion in Hinduism

Like many religions of the world, in Hinduism too abortion is morally and ethically a wrong act, drawing sharp criticism and in many instances repressive or restitutive acts as the consequences of the act of abortion.

Sanskrit, which is the language of the Shruti-based texts, has different...

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References

  1. Coward HG et al (1989) Hindu ethics: purity, abortion, and euthanasia. State University of New York Press, Albany

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  2. Daniel CM (2001) Sacred choices: the right to conception and abortion in ten world religions. Fortress Press, Minneapolis

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  3. Manu (2012) The laws of Manu (trans: Buhler G). Library of Alexandria (Kindle DX Version). Retrieved from Amazon.com

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Correspondence to Garima Yadav .

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Yadav, G. (2018). Abortion (Hinduism). In: Jain, P., Sherma, R., Khanna, M. (eds) Hinduism and Tribal Religions. Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_484-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_484-1

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  • Print ISBN: 978-94-024-1036-5

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