an After abortion

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Tuesday, August 5, 2003



Ashli at The S.I.C.L.E. Cell found a discussion online about how post-abortive moms in Korea are adopting the Japanese custom of memorializing their children lost in abortion.

The referenced article by Frank Tedesco is generally scholarly and unbiased, although the author does suggest at times that honoring children lost in abortion is a passing fad.

Rethinking the Practice of Mizuko Kuyo in Contemporary Japan by Elaine Martin is a fine article that resulted from her interviews with six women who practice Mizuko Kuyo. Reading it, one doubts that mizuko kuyo could be a passing fad. Based on her interviews, Martin writes:

"We are led to question the universality of some scholars’ suggestions that women who participate in mizuko services have emotional or psychological problems."

What she seems to mean is that they are simply expressing understandable grief in a helpful way.

Martin also says that the perception that Mizuko services are pushed on an unsuspecting public by avaricious Buddhist monks looking to make a profit on the statues is wrong--most women who do this pay little, and their practice of visiting the shrine is not driven by the fear that the ghost of the aborted child is going to punish them if they don't.

What is the Buddhist position on abortion? The first four randomly chosen links I found on that subject are here, here, here and here.

They all say that the Buddha would not be down with abortion.

Here's one interesting comment, from the last article:

"As a Buddhist woman, one may be forced to choose abortion but must be willing to receive the fruit of her action without trying to explain away the teaching to suits one's choice."

Sheryl WuDunn wrote an article for The New York Times in 1996, In Japan, A Ritual of Mourning for Abortions.

"Even though virtually everyone here believes that abortion is a woman's own business, it is striking how uneasy many of those women are after exercising their right.

It is not the same as the religious belief in other societies that a fetus is a human being who has a right to life. But despite the vast differences among cultures, there is an echo in Japan of that disquiet about a mother choosing to end the life of the fetus in her belly."


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