Abortion, Buddha and the Dalai Lama
Many in the pro-life movement seem to agree that we need not only new strategies (since public opinion seems more or less fixed) but also a new language. Well, here's something new. Now, I'm not suggesting that we move away from anything in the Catholic tradition, but if you're looking for a novel approach for the hard-to-convince from an unlikely source, Matt Weiner, the head of the Interfaith Center in New York, notes that for Buddhism, too, the fetus is human. I'm not an expert, so I'll let Matt explain it. This is taken from his piece on the Huffpost.
"In the west this Buddhist principle is wielded by social justice liberals when arguing against war, capital punishment, and torture. It tends to be twinned with meditation, the Buddhist activity for reaching a peaceful state of mind, which makes one less violent, and therefore less likely to produce bad karma.
But here is where liberals take what they want from a tradition, and leave out the over arching logic. According to Buddhism, a fetus is a human. There is no distinction either in definition or in karmic punishment. In this way Buddhism is far more confident about when life begins than say Catholicism, which leaves this answer as a mystery.
Buddhism is deadly serious about non violence, because karma has serious consequences. Morality is never about a person's right to choose, but about understanding the consequences of ones actions. Or put another way, moral action is entirely about what one chooses to do -- and one must suffer the consequences. The rules in Buddhism are really vows, not set up to please God, but to protect people from being reborn into unseemly realms....
...Accepting a moral principle, though and following it through does seem to take courage. The day after 9/11 the Dalai Lama wrote to President Bush, his most important political ally, warning him about the danger of responding to violence with violence. He also defended the Pope's view on abortion. Religious principles can unexpectedly alienate. The unexpected is rarely easy. But then moral choices never were."
James Martin, SJ