Why Aren't the Jewish People more Pro-life?


#1

I haven't seen any Jewish organizations being pro-life or working against abortion. Is their religion lenient about it?

I would think after the Holocaust they would be at the forefront working against the abortion industry. :confused:


#2

Catholics view the abortion rates as equivalent to if not worse than the Holocaust as it targets the most vulnerable. Additionally we believe that life begins upon conception whereas Judaism doesn’t. Jewish law is more lenient concerning abortions in the first forty days of pregnancy as it considers the embryo to be of relatively low value during this time.

Abortions because of defects in the foetus or to protect the mental health of the mother are forbidden by some schools of Judaism and permitted by others under differing circumstances.

Judaism does not forbid abortion, but it does not permit abortion on demand. Abortion is only permitted for serious reasons. Judaism expects every case to be considered on its own merits and the decision to be taken after consultation with a Rabbi competent to give advice on such matters.

Strict Judaism permits abortion only in cases where continuing the pregnancy would put the mother’s life in serious danger.

I’m not sure which position the Ultra/Reformed/Orthodox camps take. Maybe one of our Jewish friends can enlighten us.


#3

Jews aren’t just a religious group but an ethnic one also. And they’re difficult to generalise, because you’ll find a Jewish group representing almost every possible conceivable viewpoint. That said, many Jews either have secular beliefs or belong to one of the mainline “Conservative” or “Reformed” sects of Judaism, which are quite easy on the moral theology, much like mainline Protestantism, and even the more hardline sects have varying views on abortion. Many seemingly religious Jews, who observe the various Jewish festivals are in fact quite secular in outlook and do so for cultural and not religious reasons. And I think you’ll find modern Judaism to be similarly fragmented to Protestant Christianity, with a sect for every possible set of beliefs or a combination thereof.

Furthermore, Jewish organisations aren’t necessarily religious organisations but rather organisations that represent the interests of the ethnic group as a whole, and not just religious Jews. Jews who are secular or mainline will naturally drift with the times and therefore will hold whatever views are currently popular in the mainstream, and ever since the Enlightenment and the various revolutions in the 18th century, the mainstream has been generally dominated, and increasingly so, by some form of political and philosophical liberalism.


#4

**Great question! Greater question is "Why aren’t the Christian people more pro-life?

I understand the question - however the Jewish popultaion is much less in numbers than Chrisitan…so why are these groups not more pro-life?

I have no answer than to be on my knees over this topic .**


#5

[quote="oneofmany, post:1, topic:305769"]
I haven't seen any Jewish organizations being pro-life or working against abortion. Is their religion lenient about it?

I would think after the Holocaust they would be at the forefront working against the abortion industry. :confused:

[/quote]

My Jewish Learning (one of the best sites for brief explanations of aspects of Judaism) has a useful overview of Jewish attitudes.

As an aside, we don't share the Christian concept of 'Original Sin' so we don't have the same worries Christians might have as to the ultimate fate of the unborn.


#6

That’s interesting, thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:

This position isn’t too different, in principle, from that of many Protestants (who allow the exception for the mother’s life) or even from our own national abortion law if interpreted strictly.

Do these views further differ among the different branches (Orthodox, Reform…) of Judaism?


#7

[quote="Kaninchen, post:5, topic:305769"]
My Jewish Learning (one of the best sites for brief explanations of aspects of Judaism) has a useful overview of Jewish attitudes.

As an aside, we don't share the Christian concept of 'Original Sin' so we don't have the same worries Christians might have as to the ultimate fate of the unborn.

[/quote]

I think it is time the Jewish people reconcile Jewish teaching from thousands of years ago with scientific advances in our knowledge of the developing, unborn child.

Catholics do not oppose abortion because we are concerned about the fate of the soul of the unborn (God is good and merciful when protecting the innocent) but because sucking a fetus from his/her mother is an act of violence.

After an abortion, the "baby" is pieced back together to make sure that nothing was left inside the mother. What are they piecing together? Arms, legs, torso, head.... No doubt, a very small human being.

We should all strive for peaceful solutions to unwanted pregnancies.


#8

[quote="RPRPsych, post:6, topic:305769"]
That's interesting, thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:

This position isn't too different, in principle, from that of many Protestants (who allow the exception for the mother's life) or even from our own national abortion law if interpreted strictly.

Do these views further differ among the different branches (Orthodox, Reform...) of Judaism?

[/quote]

Starting from the same set of assumptions, yes they do vary. The difference is in what is considered a 'threat' - from 'clear and present danger' onwards to things like 'psychological damage'.

What is common and, obviously, different from the Catholic view, is that the mother's life must take precedence.


#9

[quote="lax16, post:7, topic:305769"]
I think it is time the Jewish people reconcile Jewish teaching from thousands of years ago with scientific advances in our knowledge of the developing, unborn child.

[/quote]

I think it's time that Catholics reconcile themselves to the fact that Judaism is an entirely different religion, not Christianity minus Jesus.

If you read the link, you'll discover what the Jewish position is about.


#10

I get it. This is rather like our law (the “Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1972”) which recognizes both physical and psychological damage as “threats”, as well as “economic harm” (which is where they part ways from the Jewish teaching), but where individual doctors differ widely in their perception of what is a “threat”.

What is common and, obviously, different from the Catholic view, is that the mother’s life must take precedence.

True, the Catholic view is that the life of the unborn child must be protected at all costs, even if this requires heroic virtue on the part of the mother. However, an act not directly intended to end the child’s life (i.e., which is not a “medical termination of pregnancy”), if done to save the mother’s life, is licit even if it causes the child’s death as an unintended and unwanted consequence.

And, yes, Christianity and Judaism are different religions. Point well made. Which doesn’t mean that we can’t get along. :smiley:


#11

I thought Jewish people believe the soul doesn’t enter the body until after birth, so the baby isn’t really human until after it is born, it is simply a vessel, a potential human, until birth when it becomes fully human with a soul.

I’m no expert, and I probably didn’t say that very well, but that is my general understanding.


#12

I’ve always had a suspicion that one of the reasons for the ‘popularity’ of Jewish doctors in, otherwise, hostile societies was that, in extreme situations, the Jewish doctor would save the mother.

And, yes, Christianity and Judaism are different religions. Point well made. Which doesn’t mean that we can’t get along. :smiley:

Well, I’ve survived here for six years, though one of my mantras for doing so has been “It’s a Catholic board, don’t talk about sex, don’t even talk about not talking about sex.” :slight_smile:


#13

Actually, I think the Catholic position is that both the child and the mother both have equal right to live and therefore we put our trust in God to make the decision while having the doctor do what he/she can do to save both.


#14

I did an internet search and found this.

"Birth

In Jewish law, although the human soul exists before birth, human life begins at birth, that is, at the time when the child is more than halfway emerged from the mother’s body. For more details about the consequences of this doctrine, see Abortion. "…

Blue excerpt taken from: jewfaq.org/birth.htm

"Abortion

Jewish law not only permits, but in some circumstances requires abortion. Where the mother’s life is in jeopardy because of the unborn child, abortion is mandatory.

An unborn child has the status of “potential human life” until the majority of the body has emerged from the mother. Potential human life is valuable, and may not be terminated casually, but it does not have as much value as a life in existence. The Talmud makes no bones about this: it says quite bluntly that if the fetus threatens the life of the mother, you cut it up within her body and remove it limb by limb if necessary, because its life is not as valuable as hers. But once the greater part of the body has emerged, you cannot take its life to save the mother’s, because you cannot choose between one human life and another."

Blue excerpt taken from: jewfaq.org/sex.htm#Abortion


#15

Nothing, in Judaism, is ever as simple as all that! :smiley:


#16

[quote="Kaninchen, post:12, topic:305769"]
I've always had a suspicion that one of the reasons for the 'popularity' of Jewish doctors in, otherwise, hostile societies was that, in extreme situations, the Jewish doctor would save the mother.

Now that you mention it, I think the doctor who delivered my younger brother was Jewish, but I'm not sure if that was the reason. :D

[quote]Well, I've survived here for six years, though one of my mantras for doing so has been "It's a Catholic board, don't talk about sex, don't even talk about not talking about sex." :)

[/quote]

Well, that's a sound "mantra" even for us Catholics! (especially non-American ones..) ;)
[/quote]


#17

Exodus 21:22-25

22 If men quarrel, and one strike a woman with child and she miscarry indeed, but live herself: he shall be answerable for so much damage as the woman’s husband shall require, and as arbiters shall award. 23 But if her death ensue thereupon, he shall render life for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

If a woman is harmed and the child dies, there is a lesser punishment.
If the woman is harmed and the woman dies, the same punishment for murder is prescribed here.


#18

!!!

Ha! :thumbsup:


#19

[quote="Kaninchen, post:9, topic:305769"]
I think it's time that Catholics reconcile themselves to the fact that Judaism is an entirely different religion, not Christianity minus Jesus.

If you read the link, you'll discover what the Jewish position is about.

[/quote]

Kaninchen - I did read the link and that is where it states ancient Jewish teaching on the matter of abortion:
Exodus - written over time starting 3600 years ago
Rashi - 1040-1105 CE
Maimonides - 1135-1204

So, I repeat, by taking ancient Jewish teaching and adding current medical/scientific information on the developing fetus would make a well-rounded argument from the Jewish perspective. Don't you agree? How can it be ignored?

I have no idea how your response that "Catholics need to reconcile themselves to the fact that Judaism is an entirely different religion..." ties into this discussion. To admit a fetus is a small, vulnerable human being has nothing to do with religious differences or similarities now does it?

To say that abortion is a violent solution to an unwanted pregnancy is a view shared by Hindus and Buddhists. They won't tell a woman what choice to make but they do view abortion as an act of *violence.

*

btw - my spouse is Jewish, and I know a lot more about our similarities and differences than you might think.;)


#20

I’m not going to get involved in a debate about abortion (“Don’t talk about sex, don’t even talk about not talking about sex.”) but there are a few things I will say in response.

The idea of ‘adding current medical/scientific information’ is a red herring because our (all our) predecessors knew the story anyway, human parents have sex, a child is conceived. In other words, it only tells the story with another set of words. The questions haven’t changed nor the response to them because it’s in the area of ‘what are we to make of that?’

In other words, it’s a matter of “What is to be done in particular circumstances?” You say that, in deciding, we shouldn’t rely on scriptures and arguments that are thousands of years old, as opposed, I suppose, to Christian scriptures and commentaries that are nearly thousands of years old, or thoughts and understandings derived from Greek thinkers that are thousands of years old.

Well, we’re not going to do that because we’re Jews (who have kept on rowing all those thousands of years) and not Christians or ancient Greeks.

I have no idea how your response that “Catholics need to reconcile themselves to the fact that Judaism is an entirely different religion…” ties into this discussion. To admit a fetus is a small, vulnerable human being has nothing to do with religious differences or similarities now does it?

I use that phrase to underline the idea that Judaism doesn’t work like Christianity, there are not always Jewish answers to Catholic questions because many of those questions arise within the Catholic ‘paradigm’, not the Jewish ‘paradigm’.


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