Difference between revisions of "Abortion"

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== What is the Prohibition? ==
 
== What is the Prohibition? ==
 
# * According to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, abortion is considered murder. However, this murder does not come with a death penalty. There are some cases of murder when the murderer does not get the death penalty. One of these cases is someone who murders one who is terminally ill. <ref> Iggros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat, Part 2, Chapter 69</ref>
 
# * According to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, abortion is considered murder. However, this murder does not come with a death penalty. There are some cases of murder when the murderer does not get the death penalty. One of these cases is someone who murders one who is terminally ill. <ref> Iggros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat, Part 2, Chapter 69</ref>
# * According to Rabbi Issar Unterman, abortion is considered akin to murder אבזרייהו דרציחה. <ref> I.Y. Unterman, Noam VI (1963), 1-11 as cited in David Feldman, Birth Control In Jewish Law</ref>
+
# * According to Rabbi Issar Unterman, abortion is considered akin to murder אבזרייהו דרציחה.<ref> I.Y. Unterman, Noam VI (1963), 1-11 as cited in David Feldman, Birth Control In Jewish Law</ref>
 
# * One possible prohibition could be that it is against the commandment of פרו ורבו. Part of the commandment is to allow every potential soul to come into being, and if one does abortion, they cannot do this. <ref> Yevamos 63b</ref>
 
# * One possible prohibition could be that it is against the commandment of פרו ורבו. Part of the commandment is to allow every potential soul to come into being, and if one does abortion, they cannot do this. <ref> Yevamos 63b</ref>
 
# * Spilling the seed/Onanism. The fetus is more similar to the basic seed than to a human, so destroying the fetus would be like destroying the seed.<ref>Talmud Bavli: Niddah 13a; Chavos Yair, Siman 31</ref>
 
# * Spilling the seed/Onanism. The fetus is more similar to the basic seed than to a human, so destroying the fetus would be like destroying the seed.<ref>Talmud Bavli: Niddah 13a; Chavos Yair, Siman 31</ref>

Revision as of 10:22, 13 March 2013

In the torah it seems clear that there is some kind of prohibition on abortion,[1] but it is unclear as to what prohibition it is.[2] Due to the dispute about why abortion is prohibited, there is also a debate about in which cases abortion is prohibited and in which it is permitted. Despite the fact that abortion is prohibited, in Halacha, as opposed to in Catholic and other Christian doctrines, all Poskim agree that abortion is permitted at least in one case.

What is the Prohibition?

  1. * According to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, abortion is considered murder. However, this murder does not come with a death penalty. There are some cases of murder when the murderer does not get the death penalty. One of these cases is someone who murders one who is terminally ill. [3]
  2. * According to Rabbi Issar Unterman, abortion is considered akin to murder אבזרייהו דרציחה.[4]
  3. * One possible prohibition could be that it is against the commandment of פרו ורבו. Part of the commandment is to allow every potential soul to come into being, and if one does abortion, they cannot do this. [5]
  4. * Spilling the seed/Onanism. The fetus is more similar to the basic seed than to a human, so destroying the fetus would be like destroying the seed.[6]
  5. * Aborting the fetus is injuring the mother. (Chavalah) Exodus 21 says that if two men are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and there is no death, but the fetus is miscarried, then they have to pay a monetary payment. So the fetus is more a part of the mother than a separate life. [7]
  6. * It’s a Rabbinical prohibition. There’s no clear prohibition in the Torah, so our only real sources are the rabbinical sources. [8]
  7. * According to the Zohar, one who kills a fetus is guilty of destroying God’s handiwork. [9] it is unclear if this constitutes a different view of the technical prohibition, or if this is just a reasoning explaining the severity of abortion. A punishment unlike that for murder is detailed.

Sources

  1. Tosafot Sanhedrin 59a “Leka Midam” Since there is no prohibition a non jew has that a jew does not, we can derive it is forbidden for Jews as well.
  2. There seems to be a contradiction in two sources from the torah. In Bereshit Chapter 9, it says that abortion is prohibited for non jews, and one will receive the death penalty for killing a “man within a man.” Sanhedrin 57b. In Shemot Chapter 21, however, it says, if a Jew kills a fetus he is just liable a monetary punishment. Therefore, although there certainly is a prohibition, opinions vary widely as to what the prohibition is, see section “What is the Prohibition” below.
  3. Iggros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat, Part 2, Chapter 69
  4. I.Y. Unterman, Noam VI (1963), 1-11 as cited in David Feldman, Birth Control In Jewish Law
  5. Yevamos 63b
  6. Talmud Bavli: Niddah 13a; Chavos Yair, Siman 31
  7. Exodus 21:22
  8. Sanhedrin עב; Tzitz Eliezer, Jerusalem, 1963, volume VII, number 48, p. 190.
  9. Hok L’Yisrael, Shemot for Monday, Zohar, Shemot 3b