Judaism point of view on abortion
Abortion remains a controversial issue around the world. Countries around the world have legislations, which regulate termination of pregnancy before maturity. While this is the case, religions also have varying beliefs on sanctity of life. From Islam to Judaism, faithful have divergent opinion on when the life of the newborn should be preserved or ended. For example, Judaism point of view on abortion states that abortion is acceptable but not on demand. In other words, an expectant woman has the right to end the life of the fetus only under serious reasons that meet the minimum threshold. In this piece, you will discover circumstances under which Judaism allows or forbids abortion among its followers.
Overview of Judaism point of view on abortion
Judaism considers abortion as a sensitive moral and spiritual issue. It forbids and allows termination of pregnancy depending on the prevailing conditions. However, an approval to procure an abortion must be based on concrete reason. When addressing the issue, Judaism considers every case independently and finds merits to either allow or disallow the exercise. During such cases, a competent rabbi gives a verdict on the validity of the issue at hand.
Generally, Judaism allows abortion if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. Nevertheless, there has to be evidence that the expectant woman is in serious danger that stems from the pregnancy. Where the mother of the unborn is at risk of dying, Judaism point of view on abortion allows termination of pregnancy since it values the life of the woman than that of the fetus.
Moreover, Judaism is more lenient during the early days of pregnancy. For example, in the first 40 days after conception, Judaism attaches less value to the embryo and could allow termination easily compared to a pregnancy that is several months old. It is important to note that differences among Jews on abortion because of disabled fetus or a threat to mother’s health exist. Some schools of thought opine that the women should not procure abortion under these circumstances while others hold that the life of the mother is more important than that of the fetus. An argument supporting abortion anchors on the pain that the mother is likely to experience if the authorities allowed the pregnancy to grow to maturity.
Sanctity of life in Judaism
Even though Judaism allows abortion under specific and serious conditions, it has strong concerns for sanctity of human life. This means that Judaism focuses on protecting life at all levels, including during pregnancy. According to Judaism point of view on abortion, any person who ends the life of one person is as if he or she has destroyed the world. In the same way, everyone who preserves the life of a single person preserves the life of the whole world.
Besides having high regard for sanctity of life, Judaism also finds other serious reasons to criminalize and disallow abortion. For instance, abortion is equivalent to killing or committing murder. Thus, destroying a fetus breaks God’ commandment to fill the world through reproduction. In addition, killing the fetus is a way of destroying something that exists in the image of God. Abortion further destroys the creation of God, ends life that would become a being, and is unjustifiable act of harming of humanity.
What is Judaism’s point of view on abortion?
In this section, we look at specific circumstances when a mother is justifiable to end the life of the unborn. Firstly, Judaism allows abortion when the action aims at saving the life of the mother. However, this only happens if it is necessary. This is so because the life of the mother is more important than the life of the fetus. However, while the reason must be substantial, abortion does not take place during the last stages of the pregnancy.
Moreover, when the mother is in total distress and cannot nurture the pregnancy, Judaism allows abortion. However, no consistency on the level of mental distress that permits abortion. Rabbis hold that if the pregnancy is likely to cause the mother to commit suicide, then the pregnancy should end. If is therefore clear that Judaism point of view on abortion anchors on the need to protect the life of the mother.
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