Abortion is a complex issue that has arguably been the most controversial moral issue for the past century. The most fundamental issues concerning abortion are: what makes us human, whom is harmed during abortion, and is contraception wrong if abortion is immoral? Buddhist ethics are focused on nurturing moral conducts and cultivating wisdom. Respect for life is basic to Buddhism. According to Vinaya, the monastic code recognizes human life is formed at conception when consciousness enters the womb. The non-harmful contraception methods are acceptable in Buddhism. Moreover, Buddhist doctrines advocate for compassion and understanding. Buddhists approaches on abortion is through a middle way between self-indulgence and self-mortification, between pro-life and pro-choice. .
According to Professor Karma Tsomo, Buddhist ethical theory is based on the Noble Eightfold Path: right intention, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Because Buddhism is a nontheistic system, no deity stands in judgment of one's actions and there is no mention of God's will or God's punishment. The Buddha lays out the monastic codes to refrain the members of sangha from taking lives. The Sarvastivadin Vinaya used in Tibet clearly forbids ordained sangha from involvement in abortion:.
Whatever monk should intentionally deprive a human being of life he is also one who is defeated [in the monastic life], he is not in communion human being means: from the mind's first arising, from the time of consciousness becoming first manifest in a mother's womb until the time of death, here meanwhile he is called a human being (Harvey 313).
The rule evidently states the serious matters of abortion. In The Sutra of Filial Piety, the Buddha noticeably specified the human fetus development process in the womb.