Abstract 摘要

Daoism, one of China’s major philosophical and religious traditions, emphasizes such notions as holism, organicism, and naturalness, promoting the idea of living in line with the rules and patterns of nature. This essay examines the Daoist ethics of living naturally with special attention given to abortion. It points out that for philosophical Daoism, abortion is not acceptable because it is considered an “artificial” action for a self-serving purpose, such as aborting an unwanted baby girl after a sex test on a fetus. For religious Daoism, abortion is not acceptable because the fetus has a spirit and a soul. Both traditions maintain the importance of the sacredness of all life. Yet the language of rights and choices is absent in Daoism, and the aim of the essay is to present the basic teaching of Daoism and show that it is relevant to contemporary bioethical issues. With the increasing use of modern medical technology that makes the control or manipulation of the human body much easier, it is utterly important for humanity to think about the nature of human beings and the relationship between itself and the natural world. The essay also contends that Daoism offers a perspective to reflect on the one-child policy in China that has been practiced in the past few decades.