As Technology develops, People must make more advanced life choices, which can be difficult. Many people consult one of the world religions to influence their decisions, often looking to religious figureheads and sacred texts to guide them. However sometimes this can be a difficult process as most religious sacred texts were written thousands of years ago, when most of the life choices we make today were not relevant. This means people will need to look at their religions core values and beliefs to determine how they should decide and live their life. Jewish adherents apply their understanding of moral behaviours in accordance to their sacred text and ethical frameworks in making their decision when faced with the ethical issue of abortion. For example, the choice of abortion for a person who adheres to Judaism. In Judaism, scriptures, Torah, Talmud and Tanakh all influence their decision and viewpoint, especially the large ethical choice of Abortion. When a Jewish person has to make an ethical decision, their life experience also influences them. The range of adherence can also influence a Jewish person’s ethical decision, with the large scale from contemporized Judaism to orthodox making large difference.
Abortion is the termination of a fetus, to prevent the birth of a child in a pregnant woman. This is often done by 28 weeks. This can be done through many methods, mainly medication or surgical removal of the fetus. This differs from a miscarriage as it is done medically. The reasoning for an abortion is for medical needs (endangering the mother), probable birth defects or personal choice. Abortions are not legal in all countries/states and tend to need to be signed off by at least two doctors in most states if legal.
The ethical issue with abortion, is that it is essentially causing the deliberate death of a life, which is the killing of an unborn child in this case. The ethical issue is that, if the killing of a child is considered murder, then what is the difference between that and the killing of an unborn child. There are mainly two viewpoints around this, that it is murder or that it is protecting the mother’s rights. The scale between is where does life begin, which in most world regions, it is at contraception.
For a Jewish person to make this ethical decision of abortion, they would consult their rabbi and secret texts.
Sacred Texts and Modern Time
The Talmud states that a fetus is not a life and does not deserve the rghts that a human has until it is born. The Talmud (in Yevamont 69b) also states that before the 40 days of gestation, the fetus has no rights and it is just “mere water” (my jewis learning) It also states that the ancient Rabbis believe it is a part of the women carrying the fetus so it is her decision, as its survival depends on her. This in todays times is pro choice.
Howver in Genesis 9.6, it has teachings about their bodies being gods possession and that they must respect it, this can be interpreted as they must not have abortions or that they have to do what is right for the child.
There is another verse that says they must not shed “blood of a man within a man” which can be interpreted as a fetus. Which is another reason as to why there is two veiwpoints regarding abortion in Judaism.
Another reason is because of the passage about how a man must not strike a pregnant women, which is moern day can be interpreted as abortion and the killing of the fetus.
There are two separate veiwpoint depending on how the jewish person interoperates their text, and how orthodox they are. The first veiwpoint is that abortion is never okay, because of the scripture about striking a pregnant women down is a sin. Whereas the other veiwpoint is that it is okay because it is not a life until it is born and that the mothers health is priotity.
Howver it is indication that the veiwpoint of the mothers rights and that the life doesn’t beguin until after birth is more prevalent. This is seen in a 2015 Pew Reaserch where 83% of jewish people surveyed said they supported the legalization of abortion. (My jewish learning). This is also evident as in the jewish religion, the body and life is a gift from god so that the person must take care of themselves, meaning if their life is at risk due to a pregnancy then they will need to abort it. This is also evident as in the jewish religion, the fetus is seen as a part of the mother, meaning it is her choice to do as she pleases with it. Howver, Rabbis support abortion in cases where there is a stubstancial reasoning, otherwise they are against it. Ultimalt it is the mother’s health that is prioity in the jewish religion. This veipoint is more prevalent in aiding a jewish persons decision about abortion as respecting the human body and protecting it I s a core value and belief.