About 60 countries support women’s access to abortion today. Some consider a gestational limit or the maturity of the fetus. Some consider it legal depending on reasons, while some are entirely against it.
Abortion is the termination of life inside a woman’s body. A fetus inside a woman’s body is life just the same. Ithe life of someone who is a threat to us?
There have been deliberations as to when we are not committing a sin when we take someone’s life. Just like abortion, there are cases when the fetus is endangering the life of the mother. What does Judaism think about it?
Reasons for Abortion and What Judaism Thinks About Them
This has been quite common nowadays, especially for the youth who engage in premarital sex. Premarital sex or sex outside marriage is considered unholy. The union between man and woman is ideal for married couples, but unwanted pregnancy is not a reason to have an abortion as it denies one’s potential life. But J. Wesley Boyd M.D., Ph.D. wrote that, “Compelling women to carry babies to term can have negative health effects.”
Pregnancy out of Adultery
Sex outside marriage is forbidden in Jewish laws, more so adultery. When an adulterous union bears a child, the child will be called a mamzer. In the Hebrew Bible, as interpreted by rabbis, mamzers are not allowed to marry in the Jewish community until the 10th generation. For this reason, when a woman gets pregnant out of adultery, she often resorts to abortion to protect the child from a life of shame. Nevertheless, this doesn’t allow her to terminate the life of an unborn child. The child is innocent of his parents’ acts and should be given a chance to live.
Pregnancy out of Rape
Life is sacred and is something to be celebrated. Pregnancy is the creation of something joyful, but what about pregnancy out of rape? If a woman was forced to have sex and it resulted in pregnancy, it could not be out of joy. It will endanger the well-being of the mother with regards to her life. Emotional and psychological wellness is a part of our overall well-being It is also a threat to a woman’s life, and thus, a potential life could be ended. “The overwhelming majority of women report feelings of relief after an abortion. Those who maintain feelings of regret over time are affected mostly by societal stigma and the lack of social support,” Robert J King Ph.D. reports.
Pregnancy is a Threat to the Mother
There are instances when the pregnancy is complicated and could harm the mother’s life. In this case, when the threat is proven by a certified medical practitioner, it is reasonable to terminate a potential life provided it hasn’t reached the stage where it is already “a full life” or when the head and one shoulder has come out from the mother.
Judaism treats life with all respect, and it is all for its preservation. This belief has been tested many times concerning issues such as abortion. They observe the law of God which clearly states “Thou shall not kill,” but certain situations have been deliberated to be an exemption. This kind of issue should always be brought up to a Jewish authority or a rabbi who has extensive knowledge of the Jewish laws. “Contrary to popular belief, Judaism is pro-life,” Mitchell Rocklin, Ph.D. and co-author said. “An abortion that is not justified by self-defense is the unjustified and purposeful taking of a human life—otherwise known as murder—and therefore no exemption would be available.”