15 July 2011

Compassionate Bhutan must accept Abortion now

 June 11, a young lady died in Phuntsholing Hospital after an unsuccessful abortion in Jaigaon. Until the doctors saw bleeding from the victim’s genitals, her friend had lied it was an epileptic attack. Telling the truth could lead to legal actions, but she left the world, free of pains.

Record shows that every year over 200 women suffer similar fate, which could be just the tip of an iceberg. There may be hundreds others who must be crying in the corners with pain, or worse must have died silent deaths.
Our compassionate Buddhist kingdom views abortion as a very sinful act, equivalent to killing a person. But with due respect, I seek to know where is compassion in letting a young woman die along with her baby? Where is compassion in letting an unwanted child see the light of the world, sentencing him to a home where he wasn’t wanted? Where is compassion in letting a young woman give birth to a child, whose father has given up on them?

I find more compassion in abortion; killing a cell for the sake of a woman’s life, and liberating both the mother and the child from depth of mistake. Abortion is not an ice cream that everybody would enjoy if made free, it is but the only option left when everything seems wrong. No woman will go for abortion for pleasure.

If there was a way out, the 23 year old woman wouldn’t have travelled over 400 km straight against her country’s law and pay Nu.9000 to let someone dig into her and take her guts out. In such times no amount of law can stop that. But just because it’s illegal at home, the desperate woman has gone out to Jaigaon, place where nothing seems right- who knows if the man who operated on her was a doctor or a vegetable vendor.

Abortion is not permitted in Bhutan because we are Buddhist, isn’t it more Buddhist to forgive a woman for her mistake and give her a new life instead of letting her die along with child, which we were trying to protect? How many women must die before we rethink our role as a Buddhist?


  1. A thoughtful post sir Passu. Your view and suggestions do carry a lot of weight. It's sad to hear all these news of death and all. Killing a cell, as you say, would be better than taking a life or two, I too feel. Just my view, hope no one will be hurt...

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  3. Sorry sir, there was an error in my deleted comment.
    Yes, abortion is the last option the optionless to be mothers sought, so I too feel the need for our government to consider it not a crime. But Just for the sake of 11 minutes joy, both man and woman should think thrice about the chances of getting pregnant. There are lots of contraceptives available freely so one should also make the best use of it. And in most cases as its the man not willing to marry after the woman become pregnant, men need to be more concerned about such situations where he not only kills his own child but also risking the life of the woman who gave him joy.
    I too feel that those operators are not doctors but oridinary man who repair our gadgets like mobile phones. They make the condition worse afta repairing it cos they dont have talent and professional skills except their limited self experieced knowledge by playing it with such things.
    Hope things will turn better afta learning such consequences as happened to the recent victim.
    For myself, I feel blessed and lucky.

  4. Passu,

    I think you are over simplifying a very complicated issue. How can you say with certainty that the abortions carried out in secrecy in shady places in Jaigaon is because it is illegal to abort in Bhutan? How can we be certain that legalizing abortion will enable or encourage women with unwanted pregnancies to walk in boldly into our hospitals and declare they want abortion?

    The reasons for wanting to terminate a pregnancy is not limited to fear of the law alone. Health, social stigma, financial incapacitation - there are a host of reasons why, even if abortion is legalized, women and their husbands or parents will still prefer the secretive outlets for abortion. Therefore, until the Bhutanese society reaches a stage where be become more tolerant, we have to be careful about this issue which can have far reaching consequences.

  5. Its not first,second or third time. People never listen for reasons and ultimately they are losers!

  6. @Sangay Cholden, mistakes happen, accidents happen,...
    Otherwise why would so many accidents occur with so much of rules in place?
    Nobody would want to be pregnant just to get it aborted later...
    Thanks for the comment!

  7. @ Yeshey, you may be right, and I agree it is a very complicated issue- do we leave it as it is?
    And If at all we want to look for ways to solve this, where do we start? Do we start by training the doctors in Jaigaon how to perform abortion professionally? or do we identify other hospitals in places like Siliguri and create awareness?
    What is the first step you suggest?

  8. Thanks for the comments, Leo and langa. Abortion is far lesser sin ...

  9. They say a baby will have its heart(that pumping thing that keeps us alive) almost fully developed in a period of six months which means he/she turns into a real human-he/she by that time. While there are lots of alternatives(contraceptives both before and after coupulation) that could be done earlier, abortion should not be considered the first or the last option, it should not be made legal by law at least. For it contradicts humanity, not just religion.

    I feel sorry for the mother and the child. Perhaps things could have been better if something intervened earlier.

    Just my view...

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  11. dear passu sir, you spoke my thought. its high time we awaken ourselves from the delusion, illusion and unreal fake compassion and come into terms that abortion be done where the mother decides its better off removed.
    talking about compassion, talk to the father who abandoned his own blood which ultimately led to aborting, leaving the mother in pain and depression.
    talk to the parents, fearing to face her parents bearing a fatherless child might have led to abortion.
    talk to ourselves, the society cannot accept the fact that mistakes and accidents happen and that pregnancy is not unusual. Married or unmarried, its still the same thing.
    talking about compassion, i wonder how many cows, bulls, pigs and many more animals have been eaten by us human. and still we are so sad about the life inside a lady's womb being removed. ofcourse its sad but then again..whatever do u think when u are eating an aminal.
    next time your daughter comes home with a traumatised, depressing face bearing a fatherless child thank god that she didnt scum to death in the border town.
    lets show some compassion by legalising abortion, to those victimised women who as a very last option might be seeking the procedure.

  12. @Denduub Tshering, by six months baby will be almost ready, as we have seen lots of babies born at seventh month, and yes this time we lost two souls... but she didn't die for nothing. Her death should go on to change things!

  13. @Lotey, you are the first woman who came here to straighten your thoughts about what I wrote, and I am happy about how you view this whole thing. There are lot of things in your comment that should put most of us in shame and thank you for that!

  14. visited ur blogs for the 1st time thro the link.

    I appreciate your view that abortion has to be legalized in Bhutan. I think we should not see the countries for data where legalizing abortion has helped much. Bhutan could be different. I bet the woman would have approached our hospital doctors had she been allowed legally. And she would have been with us now. Social stigma plays its part only till the person is quite comfortable. When she is in dire necessity hospital is the only place.

    It is sad to see that we have people differing in views, for that matter even majoring in numbers going against legalizing abortion.

    I strongly propose to legalize abortion in Bhutan. Religion should not be brought here as we do not give it a chance in politics.

  15. Hello Mr Passu, very thought-provoking post. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/14th_Dalai_Lama:

    "The Dalai Lama reminds that according to Buddhist precepts abortion is an act of killing, although he has said that there can be an exception "if the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent", qualifying his approval or disapproval according to each individual abortion. This position is at odds with cultural attitudes in Tibet, where abortion is unequivocally disapproved of, and where despite its free availability, women do not so avail themselves."

    I think the Dalai Lama's opinion is indeed very wise and reasonable. After legalising abortion, societal acceptance may be the other issue here.

    P.S. Excuse my British English, I noticed there's lots of American spelling on this page.

  16. Of course there is an exceptional cases for the abortion act in our Buddhist country but action should not be legalize in our country because;
    1. though hospital support the action, nowadays who is fond of defaming 'self', so even its being supported by hospitals most of the action takers wont face it.
    2. if the action is being legalized its going to welcome more such victims.
    3. a men on the other hand will go for insisting sex, uncontrolled sex,rape, as a result 'HIV' will come to maximum, even an underage woman will start going for abortion.only then our government will realize the ineffectiveness of legalizing abortion.
    4. for the sake of forgiving one or two women legalizing abortion will go on killing many child who even don't get chance to see the world.
    5. after legalizing abortion in our country woman will undergo abortion minimum of one time after sometime, and you see what is the maximum times woman would undergo.
    6. legalizing abortion will result in increasing numbers of women going for the action.
    7. not only that action of killing person(child) will welcome our country towards famine, with the result of impact on the economic of country. so what i think is, our government needs to think thousands touching every corners in the well being of people both in present and future.
    my sentence structure may not be good but i am really worried about our nation undergoing legalizing abortion. though our country lie in today's governor we own our country in future and i am going to request that don't try and take action to get fame. when our turn comes to be governor our nation would be landing in unbearable situation.....so all the citizens think and check it out.....


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