Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Buddhist and Christian post-abortion healing rituals have much in common

Post-abortive parents demonstrate at the March for Life
The Bangkok Post recently ran a fascinating piece on Buddhist post-abortion healing ceremonies. In Thailand, as in the United States, many pregnant teens feel forced by circumstance to have an abortion, but later come to regret taking the child's life. Like Americans, many seek solace in religious rituals.

The parallels don't end there. The Buddhist temple's program shares some striking elements with Christian programs like Rachel's Vineyard and Silent No More. Both encourage parents to name the aborted child. Both seek to relieve the parents' feelings of guilt. In Thaliand, parents write the baby's name on a paper and the papers are cremated; in the United States, parents sometimes "let go" of an aborted child by releasing a helium balloon. And on both sides of the globe, aid to living children seems to help; the Thai temple requires offerings of children's supplies, which go to charity, while in the United States, many post-abortive mothers volunteer at pro-life pregnancy help centers.

Of course, there are differences as well. I don't know of any American post-abortive programs run by witch doctors who will create an amulet for the child's spirit to inhabit.

But overall, post-abortive mothers around the world seem to have more in common than not.

Given how different the doctrines of Buddhism and Christianity are, the fact that the same and similar post-abortion healing rituals have developed in both faiths is remarkable. These rituals are not particularly dogmatic and could even, with some tweaking, serve as the basis for a secular program.

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