Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Jewish Position On Abortion

I just found a most interesting document giving in layman's terms the Jewish position on abortion [pdf]. The document is authored by Rabbi Raymond A Zwerin and Rabbi Richard A. Shapiro. It is a very interesting document and only four pages long so it is well worth a read. It also provides a basis for deeper research. However, let me quote you the conclusion.

Due to the general leniency in matters of abortion, as well as a long standing Jewish insistence of the separation of religion and government in American life all four non-Orthodox Jewish movements - Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Humanist - are on record as opposing any governmental regulation of abortion. Moreover, many Orthodox authorities take the same position. What ever their opinion of abortion in any given situation, a vast majority of Jewish thinkers agree that decision making with respect to abortion must be left in the hands of the woman involved, her husband, her physician, and her rabbi. Out of this context in consonance with her Jewish heritage she can make a decision as she is permitted to do by the US Constitution.
Let me add that there is no definitive rule in Jewish law and decisions are made on a case by case basis taking into consideration the people involved, their personalities, their mental and physical health and other considerations (even the standing in the community i.e. such as serious loss of face that might imperil a woman's mental health in a case of adultery) according to the judgment of those involved. In all cases the fetus is considered the property of the woman and not an independent human being until it has at least partially exited the woman. Let me add that if the life of the woman is imperiled in the judgment of those involved abortion is mandatory. Such cases can include thoughts of suicide by the woman.

Now I understand my mothers insistence that I resist the abortion absolutists in the Republican Party.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Kwillcox said...

Is there anything more precious and defenseless than a beautiful Jewish baby with a month to go before it is born? And, if we know that the nature of the Holocaust was the ability of evil humans to destroy weak defenseless humans. And if we know that no matter how sick the baby, or nasty its conception, we can find a loving family for it right after birth? And if we know that the moment the baby is born, we will defend the life of the baby with our own lives?

How can you not be pro life for all Jewish babies? Are there not enough forces in the world already trying to kill Jews?

M. Simon said...


I don't trust government with power over my mate's or my daughters uterus. Why? Jews have some bad experiences with government.

Or to put it another way: any government strong enough to ban abortion is strong enough to make it mandatory.