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Buddhism and Abortion
Edited by Damien Keown, London, Macmillan, 1998, 222 pages, 45 [pounds sterling].
This interdisciplinary collection of nine essays is a welcome and pioneering attempt to explore the abortion question from a number of Buddhist ethical and cultural perspectives. The book is divided into three parts. Parts one and two are area studies focused, respectively, on Thailand and Japan/ Korea. Part three is concerned with textual and normative issues.
The first chapter, by Robert Florida, provides a very useful introduction both to some basic Buddhist ethical principles, including the traditional prohibition on taking life, and to the current legal situation in Thailand, a Buddhist country with an abortion rate 50% higher than the US figure for the equivalent number of citizens. Cleo Odzer's succeeding chapter on Thai prostitutes, however, surprisingly reveals …