web analytics
November 25, 2014 / 3 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Roe V. Wade In Jewish Law

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Answer: In Roe v. Wade (1973), the Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to terminate an embryo or fetus in them during the first trimester of pregnancy. It further ruled that women are under no requirement to provide a compelling medical (or non-medical) reason to abort.

Jewish law disagrees. Abortion on demand is simply prohibited. But what about special situations? Let us discuss some of them.

1. If a woman’s life is in jeopardy, we may terminate the life of the fetus to save the mother (Ohalot 7:6).

2. If there is something wrong with the fetus, some rabbis permit aborting; others do not. Rav Moshe Feinstein, for example, rules that it is forbidden, arguing that defective children have a right to live. Accordingly, he prohibits aborting a Tay-Sachs child. (See “Aborting A Jewish Fetus,” Kuntras L’Torah V’Hora’a, choveret 7, p.9, Elul 5737.)

Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg (Responsa Tzitz Eliezer, vol.13:102), on the other hand, felt that the ramifications of giving birth to a Tay-Sachs child are so severe – the child has stunted physical and mental development and inevitably dies by age four or so – that aborting is permitted until the seventh month of pregnancy.

3. May a woman who was raped abort her pregnancy? Rav Benzion Uziel (Mishpatai Uziel, vol.III, Choshen Mishpat, 46) and Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook ruled that she may in order to protect herself from shame and humiliation

4. May a mamzer fetus or one conceived out of wedlock be aborted? Rav Moshe Feinstein rules that it may not. Rav Uziel rules that it may be aborted to avoid shame. Rav Yaakov Emden (She’elat Yavitz 1:43) rules that one may abort a mamzer fetus (one conceived through adultery) but not a fetus conceived out of wedlock since no halachic stigma will be attached to such a fetus should it be born.

5. In Nazi concentration camps, pregnant women were often automatically killed. Were such women permitted to abort their pregnancies? Rabbi Efraim Oshry ruled that they were.

6. May an abortion be performed to prevent a nervous breakdown or the development of mental problems in the mother? Those rabbis that deem shame to a mother as a reason to permit abortions are lenient in regards to mental problems as well. Those rabbis who prohibit abortions even in cases of shame would not consider the possibility of mental problems developing to be reason to abort.

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Roe V. Wade In Jewish Law”

  1. Anonymous says:

    On your Obama vote you mean "disingenuous." sl

  2. Ronny Mol says:

    Thank you Jewish press for allowing this column be printed. These issues are VERY IMPORTANT to be addressed. I suggest this column be the first mentioned in your press.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Police protect MK Feiglin from Arabs on Temple Mount.
Police Chief: Think of 1 Billion Muslims and Don’t Pray on Temple Mount
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-080814-Sign

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Question: At Birkat Kohanim, who says the phrase, “Am k’doshecha ka’amur”?

Question: How can one determine whether someone is a true disciple of a rav, Rebbe, or rosh yeshiva?

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Question: When someone puts on a talit to lead services, should he recite a berachah?

Question: A number of synagogues feature bar mitzvah celebrations for elderly Jews. Is this proper?

Hashem understood their complaint and therefore selected the ritual mitzvah of sukkah to test them.

Question: Why is Shavuot celebrated as a two-day Yom Tov?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/roe-v-wade-in-jewish-law/2014/06/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: