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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.


  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.