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Biden Thinks Mainstream Religions, Like Roe v. Wade, Don’t Know When Life Begins

Biden Thinks Mainstream Religions, Like Roe v. Wade, Don’t Know When Life Begins

Our Catholic president needs a Catechism refresher.

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, our devout Catholic president has obviously forgotten to read his Catechism.

I’m concentrating on Catholicism because as a “devout” Catholic Biden should know that his religion is against abortion.

Biden: “I’m not prepared to make those judgments now. But, you know, I think the codification of Roe makes a lot of sense. Look, think what Roe says. Roe says what all basic mainstream religions have historically concluded, that the existence of a human life and being is a question. Is it at the moment of conception? Is it six months? Is it six weeks? Is it quickening like Aquinas argued? So, the idea that we’re going to make a judgment that is going to say that no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child based on a decision by the Supreme Court, I think it goes way overboard.”

From our Catechism says: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception…. Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2270-2271).

“Since the first century…”

I cannot find a precise answer for Judaism and Islam. If someone could fill me in I’d appreciate it. Are you Protestant? Let me know what your church says.


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E Howard Hunt | May 3, 2022 at 5:16 pm

Hunter Biden says life begins at 4:20.

Okay, let’s think what Roe says. Opining when life begins is not an issue of fact or law, therefore it is outside the scope of the Judiciary. What is fact and law is that every person is guaranteed by government the preservation of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A person’s life does not begin when government or law decrees it does.

Biden’s reasoning is that if something is a question, it’s okay to do it.

1. If you’re not sure there is poison in your glass of milk it’s okay to drink it.

2. If there’s a question whether someone is still in a building, it’s okay to demolish it

3. If there is a question as to whether a suspect is guilty, it’s okay to give them the death penalty.

4. If there is a question whether a baby in the womb is a human being, it’s okay to go ahead and kill them.

    Milhouse in reply to Peabody. | May 3, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    This is the point Ronald Reagan made in his book on the subject (which I’m surprised not many people seem to have read, or even know it exists). If we’re not sure whether an action we propose to take will kill a person, doesn’t the law require us to refrain? And if we don’t, doesn’t the law call that reckless endangerment, or depraved indifference?

    healthguyfsu in reply to Peabody. | May 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    Biden’s argument is nullified by anyone that has ever been convicted of involuntary manslaughter (or higher charge, such as murder for committing a crime that kills the in utero child in a woman’s uterus).

I cannot find a precise answer for Judaism and Islam. If someone could fill me in I’d appreciate it

Judaism says an embryo is like “mere water”; it does not yet have human form, and therefore does not have the legal status of a person. Aborting it at this stage is regarded as a form of contraception. Judaism’s attitude to contraception is that it’s not a good thing, and is not permitted as a general rule, but if there’s a sufficiently good reason, e.g. a medical problem, a rabbi can make an exception and permit it.

Once it becomes a foetus it gains the status of a person, and from that point it may only be deliberately killed in order to prevent it from killing its mother, i.e. we apply the same rule as we do for people who have already been born, who may only be deliberately killed in defense of ones self or others. The dividing line between embryo and foetus is at 40 days from conception.

    Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | May 3, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    Interestingly, six weeks (approximately 40 days) seems to be about the time the brain starts operating.

      n.n in reply to Milhouse. | May 3, 2022 at 6:03 pm

      The first heart beat and coherent nervous system function. The latter has scientific support as a corollary to consciousness. The latter is strongly correlated with the principle of “ensoulment”, when the spirit is first expressed through the body. Either way, there is an exquisite symmetry between the viability of life of a baby and granny, and the legal status of every other human life.

      Dimsdale in reply to Milhouse. | May 3, 2022 at 6:38 pm

      Even more interestingly, the unique DNA of the fetus/baby/child absolutely begins at conception. Anyone who watches any detective/police show made after the 80’s knows that DNA is an absolute indicator of unique personhood.

      At that point, it is not “your body,” although you may be the conveyance.

      And yes, I am a biologist.

        Milhouse in reply to Dimsdale. | May 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm

        Having its own DNA makes it an organism. It doesn’t make it a person.

          nordic_prince in reply to Milhouse. | May 3, 2022 at 9:56 pm

          But it is HUMAN DNA, ergo….

          healthguyfsu in reply to Milhouse. | May 4, 2022 at 7:32 pm

          Milly is right even though he will get an emotionally charged downvote or two.

          Cells taken from a biopsy (or a blood sample) have unique DNA as well…that does not make them alive.

          Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | May 4, 2022 at 9:19 pm

          Key word, healthyguyfsu: alive.

          Upon conception the fertilized egg becomes a zygote, then blastocyst, through cell division. This meets the scientific definition of alive. It’s growing.

          A tissue sample doesn’t do this because it is dead.

          The blastocyst implants into the uterine wall, and develops into an embryo. At this point structures such as internal organs form. then on to become a fetus at ten to twelve weeks.

          The point being it is.

          1. Alive
          2. Human
          3. A human with distinct DNA; therefore a unique human, distinct from any human being before or since.
          4. It is never part of the mother’s body. As it forms into the zygote, then blastocyst, it is covered by an external coating called the zona pellucida which can be described as an egg shell. These outer cells of the blastocyst will combine with the inner cells of the uterine wall to form the placenta. So it isn’t just genetically unique, it’s an entirely separate and distinct physical being.

          Most people don’t understand the purpose of the placenta. They think it attaches the developing child to the mother. It doesn’t. It separates the child from the mother. After all, the child also gets DNA from the father. The child and mother could have entirely different, incompatible blood types. Nutrients are passed from the mother to the child, while waste is excreted from the child to the mother through the umbilical cord. But other than that nothing else can get through.

          healthguyfsu in reply to Milhouse. | May 6, 2022 at 3:02 pm

          Good god just stop already

          The placenta’s job is 100% fetal nutrition. When it detaches prematurely, the fetus dies 90% of the time.

          I can make cells taken from you grow in a dish but they aren’t alive.

          In vitro embryos in a dish are not alive either.

          You lose these conversations with the left too easily when you start making up crap.

      jb4 in reply to Milhouse. | May 3, 2022 at 6:58 pm

      I suspect that with some people “the brain starts operating” far later.

    Steven Brizel in reply to Milhouse. | May 3, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    This is an excellent summary of the view of the definition of fetal life in mainstream traditional Jewish sources

    alaskabob in reply to Milhouse. | May 3, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny…. by 6 weeks it can be visually differentiated as human.

    Steven Brizel in reply to Milhouse. | May 4, 2022 at 10:49 am

    For more on Orthodox Judaism and the at best limited permissibility of abortion under Jewish law see here and but also see here ly-wire as well as here and One doubts that most Reform and Conservative clergy are even remotely familiar with these views let alone the sources quoted therein

The Gentle Grizzly | May 3, 2022 at 5:41 pm

The president is heading the nation to cataclysm.

Maybe he’s saying Catholicism is not a “mainstream religion”.

My idiot (Reform) Rabbi sent out a weepy email. Oh the humanity!!! Go to your safe space!!!!

The Central Conference of American Rabbis is deeply disturbed by what appears to be the decision of a majority of justices of the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

So the American Jewish consensus is it’s okay to kill a little not-yet-born human, but God forbid someone should shoot a dog!!! Idiots. My religion is so screwed up I’m embarrassed.

    Milhouse in reply to WestRock. | May 3, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    No, not the Jewish consensus, just the Reform consensus. “Reform Judaism” is an independent religion that has less in common with actual Judaism than do most forms of Christianity. It most closely resembles Universal Unitarianism. (The religion that is closest to Judaism is Sikhism.)

      WestRock in reply to Milhouse. | May 4, 2022 at 7:42 am

      Yes and no. Most Jews in America are Reform Jews, so it is the de facto consensus on our soil. Something to think about (and that most living Jews in America are unaware of) is that a large number of our ancestors emigrated from Communist regions. And a number of them joined the American Communist Party. Their ideals and values likely influenced their children and their children’s children. It may explain a lot of the lefty and socialist tendencies of American Jews. Oy gevalt!

        Steven Brizel in reply to WestRock. | May 4, 2022 at 9:01 am

        Orthodox Jews , who either immigrated from Eastern Europe pre WW1 or entered as immigrated as Holocaust survivors are far more conservative on political and social values than Reform Jews and have thriving communities and institutions as opposed to both Reform and Conservative Jewry who are merging and closing educational institutions and houses of worship all over the US

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to WestRock. | May 4, 2022 at 6:09 am

    If a reformed gambler no longer gambles and a reformed bank robber no longer robs banks, what do reformed rabbis no longer do?

    Steven Brizel in reply to WestRock. | May 4, 2022 at 9:12 am

    There is no doubt that any yeshiva educated child knows more about Jewish law on a wide variety of issues, including the importance of the family as the home base for the transmission of Jewish values , law . customs , holidays and observance than the average Reform or Conservative clergy representative

    Steven Brizel in reply to WestRock. | May 4, 2022 at 9:18 am

    It is fair to say that Orthodox Judaism and Jewish law ( which is called Halacha or the way) neither views abortion as permitted as a matter of “reproductive
    freedom” so as to afford a woman a convenience in the case of a hook up that resulted in an unwanted pregnancy or banned in all circumstances . Many great rabbis on a case by case basis are lenient in cases of abuse, rape, incest, etc. It is a far more nuanced position than that of either supporting codification of Roe or a right to life amendment-neither of which there is a national consensus in support of

      henrybowman in reply to Steven Brizel. | May 4, 2022 at 3:07 pm

      “Many great rabbis on a case by case basis”
      That’s “local governance.” Democrats are all about the “one size fits all” laws.

This Roe ruling isn’t just about abortion. The ruling attempts to overturn many of the legal cudgels that the left has been using to enforce their looney philosophy on all of us.

I am in favor of Roe’s parameters for abortion, but Roe’s legal logic uses leftist legal arguments that are far from Constitutional. The left claims Roe is constitutional because it protects women “right to privacy” — a concept they introduced with Roe and a few prior rulings. The leaked ruling quickly debunked their view that this is a Constitutional right. Leftists also wanted to claim women are a protected group. This would allow them to use “strict scrutiny” in all abortion rulings — a standard that demands a very compelling state interest in taking away women’s rights to abortion. We’ve all seen how the left has used this standard as a cudgel to pummel us into thinking there are no distinctions between male and female. They have gone so far in applying this principle, that hey truly believe children have the right to undergo trans transformation, without parental consent, with the help of schools. Much of the left’s looney nonsense is forced upon us with this strict scrutiny standard that arose after the Brown ruling. It’s time to erase all of their unconstitutional rulings and standards, now that conservatives own the Supreme Court. This ruling is a huge first step.

    Ironclaw in reply to ruralguy. | May 3, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    Since they can’t even define what a woman is, how would they know anything about a woman’s rights?

    henrybowman in reply to ruralguy. | May 4, 2022 at 1:11 am

    “Leftists also wanted to claim women are a protected group.”
    Absolutely, at least until you want to steal their swimming trophies.

The topic of abortion From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Handbook. See item 38.6.1

Science says a woman has a human being in her womb from the moment of conception. The question isn’t when the embryo becomes a human being, The question is when do other human beings who have been allowed to reach maturity grant that tiny human being the rights they have themselves. Ultimately, it’s a power struggle between the strong and the weak with onlookers taking sides.

    Peabody in reply to elliesmom. | May 3, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Yes, and we were all there at one time (in the womb). Therefore we should have sympathy for others who are going through the same stage of life we ourselves have passed through.

When much less than 1% of abortions are for the “life of the mother, rape or incest,” the rest is effectively elective or economic:

“A life endangering physical condition” was cited as a reason for 0.28 percent (194) of the abortions, while ‘physical health of the mother that is not life endangering’ was provided as a reason for 1,034 abortions, or 1.5 percent of the total number.

The overwhelming majority of women who sought abortions said nothing about health, rape or incest.

More than three-quarters of the reported abortions (52,844) were classified as ‘elective,’ meaning the woman did not provide a reason for obtaining the procedure.

And 20 percent of the abortions, 14,031 to be exact, were ‘due to social or economic reasons.'”

Statistics from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration from 70,083 abortions that were carried out in 2018, courtesy of the Western Journal.

Given the many cheap/free contraceptives, many of which can be used redundantly, the need for abortions is an abomination.

It is post conception fetal termination used as “contraception.” By definition, contraception PREVENTS conception, making all of this moot. Of a demonstrably unique individual (not the mother).

There is a name for that….

    Olinser in reply to Dimsdale. | May 4, 2022 at 3:13 am

    Same bad faith crap argument they use for transgenders. Because ‘some’ (as in, a tiny fraction of a percentage) people have an actual genetic abnormality that results in them having extra chromosomes or actually being intersex, that justifies putting any 10 year old that doesn’t like their body on puberty blockers and mutilating their bodies.

When the sperm enters the egg there is photographic evidence of a bright light that engulfs the now zygote… your child…

I believe that is the soul

    Peabody in reply to gonzotx. | May 3, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    I don’t know if that’s the soul, but babies do have souls and I’ll tell you this. On resurrection morning there will be more people rising from the landfills than many of the cemetaries.

    healthguyfsu in reply to gonzotx. | May 4, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    That moment is not even the moment of conception because the nuclei haven’t fused yet to form a zygote.

    There’s a dual-layered “bright halo” surrounding an ovulated egg long before a sperm cell even comes close. The cells are called the cumulus oophorus and an inner layer called the zona pellucida made of glycoproteins is also there. This “halo” is dispersed upon sperm penetration but does not indicate conception.

    Sorry, but that moment is beautiful and radiant, but it is not conception.

Camperfixer | May 3, 2022 at 6:57 pm

The Bible is pretty clear, and Biden doesn’t know his.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”

Psalm 139:13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

God weeps, and will weep again if this willful infanticide doesn’t stop. He will also hold those accountable who allowed this and those who allow it to continue.

    IndianaGuy in reply to Camperfixer. | May 4, 2022 at 7:31 am

    Thank you Camperfixer. This is the answer. Our nation has turned far away from God, and I pray we will start turning back toward Him.
    In a post-Christian society, when God’s absolute truths are ignored and man makes up our own truths, you end up with a federal “disinformation governance board,” aka ministry of truth.

      Camperfixer in reply to IndianaGuy. | May 4, 2022 at 11:30 am

      The Left hates God because His tenets require accountability, humility, and gratitude. Everytime one of them, including The Hologram, invokes God, I cringe, like fingers on a chalkboard…because I know they don’t mean it. Heavenly Smiting for evil-doers needs a comeback.

Tottering, feeble, dim-witted, mendacious, corrupt, avaricious and vile Biden, the “philosopher”-dotard.

So Biden’s argument is: “We don’t know when life begins, so let’s kill unborn children”.

One might think the uncertainty he claims would lead the other way. “Since we don’t know when life begins, we should err on the side of life, and not kill unborn children.”

    Martin in reply to aslannn. | May 3, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    That requires a selflessness he does not possess.

    henrybowman in reply to aslannn. | May 4, 2022 at 1:15 am

    Making the decision-making process so black and white leads to problems of its own. One is known as the “precautionary principle.” and it was used by the left to hammer dead any entrepreneurial proposal that had even the possibility of having a negative ecological effect on anything anywhere. Same for the Delaney Amendment.

It seems that Biden is about as much of a Catholic as I always suspected him of being…which means, not much.

CommoChief | May 3, 2022 at 7:20 pm

One thing is for sure if this (draft) opinion is signed off by a majority; elections for State legislature just got way more exciting. Now people have another reason to more closely scrutinize the candidates because they will be the folks determine the future of abortion in their States.

Lots of pastors and lay preachers, Deacons and members of the vestry and the like in public office down south are going to have a huge headache, particularly those in the d/prog party. Have fun squaring the circle when your own parishioners overwhelmingly oppose abortion d/prog. Can’t blame the ‘national’ party anymore and deflect. Nope it’s on your shoulders now.

I’m not sure how Biblical this is, but I believe every one of these aborted babies will be in heaven when we get there.

Many have given up Christianity for Leftism, but own up to it because it doesn’t work both ways,.

scooterjay | May 3, 2022 at 8:04 pm

Will someone direct Joes eye beam to Luke where he will discover that although five sparrows are sold for two cents each one is special in His eyes.

Republicans are acting stupid as the dems hoped. Yay! We can ban abortion! That gets all of the left and half of the right to vote against you in November. You want the opposite, half of the left and all of the right to vote for you in November, as it was set up to do before this trick.

As for beginning of life, religions are sure but common sense is not. Hence dogma and disbelievers.

    Russ from Winterset in reply to rhhardin. | May 3, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Overturning Roe v. Wade might motivate some pro-choicers, but it also fulfills a promise the Republicans made almost 50 years ago. When you think of motivation, that door swings both ways. Playing it safe and preserving Roe would win absolutely zero votes on the left, and it validates those who constantly yell “uniparty” and claim there is no difference between Rs and D’s.

    Continue to piss all over pro-lifers and tell them it’s raining. That’ll boost turnout on election day, sure thing.

Colonel Travis | May 3, 2022 at 9:15 pm

I’d like to have an ice cream cone with this rotten stump of a man and talk about how much he doesn’t know about Aquinas. It wouldn’t benefit either of us, but I would get to see some entertaining dumbfoundedness on his face.

Juris Doctor | May 3, 2022 at 10:10 pm

lol at the suggestion that religion has a credible understanding of any scientific claim.

Insects have 4 legs Leviticus 11:20-23

Bats are birds Leviticus 11:19

Rabbits chew their cud. Deuteronomy 14::6-7

    henrybowman in reply to Juris Doctor. | May 4, 2022 at 1:33 am

    The question of when a human organism is created is a scientific question.
    The question of when a legal “person” with rights is created is a political question.
    For Negros, the answer to that question is “1870,” or after several hundred years.
    Before throwing stones at religion, perhaps you should armor your own profession’s windows.

    ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Juris Doctor. | May 4, 2022 at 3:32 am

    Uh … that’s not what those passages say. And you are making pretend that the English words you choose have the exact meaning that the Hebrew words did when written. That is disingenuous, at best … and you certainly don’t warrant the benefit of the doubt on that.

    ahad haamoratsim in reply to Juris Doctor. | May 4, 2022 at 6:20 am

    That would be more convincing if your translation were more accurate.

    The Chumash was written in Hebrew, not English. It uses the terms sheratzim and ofot, not insects and birds.

    Sheratzim does not mean insects, it means swarming things.

    Ofot does not mean birds, it means winged creatures.

    Try learning a bit about the Hebrew language before being so smug. We are not responsible for bad translations into English.

    And unlike your scientific liberal Democrats, the Chumash has absolutely no confusion about defining a woman, or about the supposed option of changing sexes.

    Steven Brizel in reply to Juris Doctor. | May 4, 2022 at 9:57 am

    Science explains what but cannot explain why

George_Kaplan | May 4, 2022 at 1:31 am

Camperfixer basically summarises the Biblical position.

The ‘Protestant position’ can be summarised as depending on whether the church is pro-Scripture or pro-abortion.

I would also point out Exodus 21:22&23 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life,”

Thus the killing of a child is a capital crime under OT law.

To argue as Biden does, that all mainstream religions have concluded that the existence of a human life and being is a question is to argue in the negative – that we can never know. Is a child human in the 1st trimester? What about the 2nd or the 3rd? Are they human when they’re born? What if they’re disabled? What if they’re Jewish?

The Nazis coined the phrase lebensunwertes Leben (‘Life unworthy of life’) and exterminated such folk. It seems Biden goes further, arguing that some life is not even life.

    Camperfixer in reply to George_Kaplan. | May 4, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    To those wanting to murder their unborn child (not speaking to the rare times when the mothers life is in danger), that’s okay because it’s “not a human being”, yet when someone murders a pregnant woman it’s considered a double homicide.

    Can’t have it both ways.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | May 4, 2022 at 3:20 am

to say that no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child

Well …. at least biden got that language correct. They’re into killing children.

And I also like when leftists cry about how “Roe is the law of the land”, which just makes the point of why it’s wrong, since courts are not allowed to make law.

I just finished a degree in systematic theology. Old Joe can’t even spell “systematic theology.” Aquinas did NOT “argue” that human life began at quickening. Aquinas was using Aristotle’s biology when he wrote. Aristotle was a great biologist for his time, but we now know substantially more about animal conception. Donum Vitae states: “Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.” THIS is the teaching of the Catholic Church. Biden presumably knows this? He call himself “Catholic.”

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to jarmssite. | May 4, 2022 at 11:33 am

    THIS is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    Are you sure that’s actually the teaching of the Catholic Church any longer now that Anti-Pope Francis is in charge and doing everything in his power to destroy the Catholic church? After all Bergoglio stated that Biden was a “good Catholic” despite his acceptance & support of abortions. And if Bergoglio can make that statement it brings into question his actual adherence to Catholic doctrine.

      henrybowman in reply to Lucifer Morningstar. | May 4, 2022 at 3:15 pm

      The Church is an institution, like the United States of America.
      In both cases, it’s essential to take care to distinguish the culture of the entity from the culture of the particular clown who currently represents it.

        healthguyfsu in reply to henrybowman. | May 4, 2022 at 7:44 pm

        This is why the position of the Pope is problematic. It puts too much central emphasis on this figure for a religion that is not supposed to be about any one person.

Daniel Yaacov | May 4, 2022 at 7:50 am

B”H” Jewish normative orthodox halacha on abortions

1) Jews (clipped from judaism SE)

Abortion is generally prohibited, but is permitted in certain cases. All opinions agree that one is permitted – perhaps even obligated – to abort if the mother’s life is in direct danger due to the pregnancy – perhaps even up to actual birthing. If the mother is not in direct danger, but will have negatively impacted health, most opinions hold that abortion is prohibited, minority opinions find ways in which to permit it (you absolutely need to get permission from a Rav, cases are unique in their own ways)

One reason why abortion isn’t considered murder is because עובר ירך אמו, that a foetus is considered a limb of the mother (see .ב”ק עח., תוספות ב”ק מז., תוספות סנהדרין ס). Only once the baby is out of the womb is it considered an independent entity.

Details below
2) Non-Jews see R. Avigdor Miller ztl
“even for a ben Noach, it is a big sin to commit an abortion; a ben Noach who commits an abortion is chayev misah (death penalty) – that’s the halachah in the gemara.”

3) FWIW 30+ years ago in my freshman constructional law class w Prof. Beiser (Brown U), we discussed R v W which was held as textbook example of bad constitutional law, ie “right of privacy” via liberty protection from Due Process Clause of 14th Amendment “broad enough to encompass” right to abortion is weak – even the supporters readily admitted eg see one of the screenshots w quotes from link below:

“One of the most curious things about Roe is that behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found” Lawrence Tribe from HLS;

“As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible, I say this as someone utterly committed to the right to choose” E Lazarus, clerk to Harry Blackmun SCOTUS )

—– details Jews
אוהלות ז:ו – If a woman is having trouble giving birth and her life is in danger you can cut up the foetus and remove it limb by limb because her life comes first.

This seems to imply that abortion is אסור since only if the woman’s life is in danger can you abort the foetus.
אוהלות continued – Once the child has started coming out you can’t kill it since you can’t trade a life for another life.

What changes between these two stages?
:נדה ה:ג נד – The חיוב מיתה for killing a baby is only if its alive.

.ב”ק נב – if people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and cause her to miscarriage the person who hit her has to pay (and doesn’t go the עיר מקלט).

.ערכין ז – A woman who is חייב מיתת ב”ד is killed immediately, and we don’t wait for her to give birth first if she’s pregnant.

From these three גמראs it seems clear that abortion is not murder, however from אוהלות we see that its אסור.
There is a מחלוקת תנאים about when the foetus gets a נשמה;

:סנהדרין צא – According to ר’ יהודה הנשיא it occurs immediately upon conception.

:מנחות צט – According to both ר’ יוחנן and ר’ אליעזר it occurs on the 40th day after conception.

רש”י מנחות – This is because before this point the foetus has no form.

Clearly we see that there is a נשמה before birth, why then is it not murder to abort?
:יד רמ”ה סנהדרין עב:, צא – Having a נשמה is different than having a נפש, you only have a נפש when you are born (this works well with the משנה in אוהלות). ויקרא כד:יז –i”כל נפש אדם”.

:רש”י, יד רמ”ה, מאירי סנהדרין עב – This פסוק excludes someone who isn’t yet born. רש”י שם – Explains the משנה in אוהלות like this (that it doesn’t have a נפש and thats why its not murder).

Another reason why abortion isn’t considered murder is because a baby isn’t considered a בר קיימא unless its born to term (after a full pregnancy);
:סנהדרין פד – Brings down an apparent סתירה between פסוקים: in שמות כא:יב it says “מכה איש ומת” while in במדבר לה:ל it says “כל מכה נפש” (is it נפש or איש). The גמרא answers that this teaches that you are only חייב if you kill an איש who is a נפש, meaning a בר קיימא.

Another reason why abortion isn’t considered murder is because עובר ירך אמו, that a foetus is considered a limb of the mother (see .ב”ק עח., תוספות ב”ק מז., תוספות סנהדרין ס). Only once the baby is out of the womb is it considered an independent entity.
If abortion isn’t considered murder what could be the problem?

תוספות נדה מד. ד”ה איהו – Uses the לשון of “אע”ג דמותר להרגו”.

This תוספות is the foundation for being מקל in certain cases. Some אחרונים like the ציץ אליעזר and R’ Ben-Zion Uzziel are מקל based on this תוספות as we will see.

Many פוסקים, like R’ Moshe Feinstein and R’ Yehudah Unterman were מחמר for abortion based on the following;

רמבם הל’ רוצח א:ט – There is a מצוות לא תעשה to not have mercy on a רודף, therefore the חכמים ruled that if a foetus is making it difficult to give birth its permissible to cut it up while still inside whether through medical or physical means since its a רודף, but the moment the foetus’s head emerges you can’t kill it since how can one life take the presence of the other, and this is the nature of the world.

There are a few points that the רמב”ם seems to be making;
The foetus is no longer considered a רודף once its head emerges (its unclear why). It seems that its only מותר to kill the foetus because its a רודף, however if its not it should be אסור. This is helped by the fact that the רמב”ם seems to refer to the foetus as a נפש the entire time, even before it emerges, possibly meaning that there is some type of murder when killing the foetus.

R’ Unterman quoted in נועם Volume 6 Pgs 1-11, אגרות משה חו”מ חלק ב סימנים סט-עא – Are מחמר based on this, and we need to be חושש that the foetus is a human being at the outset. However, they agreed its not classic רציחה, its a different אסור מדאורייתא which is an אבזרייהו (branch) of רציחה

חוות יאיר סימן לא and others – Disagree and understand that really the רמב”ם holds that a foetus is not a נפש and the reason he uses it here is only because its a good model for the rule of רודף, however רודף is only one reason why you can abort a foetus.

What is wrong with abortion, what is the אסור?

משך חכמה פרשת דברים כב:יט – One who causes abortion without a good reason is חייב מיתה בידי שמים.

It seems like the משך חכמה holds like R’ Unterman and R’ Feinstein that abortion is a type of רציחה.
:סנהדרין נז – Brings down a מחלוקת תנאים about whether בני נח is killed for killing foetuses (performing an abortion), according to the תנא קמא he isn’t, while according to רבי ישמעאל he is based on the פסוק in בראשית ט:ו which states “שפך דם האדם באדם דמו ישפך”, since an אדם inside an אדם is a foetus.

רמב”ם מלכים ט:ד – Holds like רבי ישמעאל.

If we hold that בן נח is חייב מיתת ב”ד for performing an abortion, shouldn’t it also be אסור for a Jew?
.תוספות חולין לג – Brings down the principal of ליכא מידי דלישראל שרי ולעובד כוכבים אסור

(I thought this תוספות applies this directly to the גמרא in סנהדרין, but I don’t see it in the תוספות itself…).

You could understand that this means its אסור מדאורייתא, however it could only be מדרבנן.

:תוספות נידה מד.-מד – Disagrees, seems to say its מותר for a Jew to perform abortion.

זוהר שמות ג – Has harsh words for actions which could be fatal for the foetus: says its a תועבה, it removes the שכינה, etc.

It could be that abortion is an אסור of הוצאת זרע לבטלה, since .נדה יג says its like שפיכות דמים (brought down in the חות יאיר שם as a possibility).
R’ Aharon Lichtenstein – If you don’t say abortion is in the family of רציחה but its אסור מדאורייתא it could be any of the following;

צפנת פעניח חלק א סימן נט – Its an אסור of חבלה.

R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (מפי שמועה) – Its either גזלה,iלא תעמוד על דם רעך, or a ביטול עשה of הצלה.

R’ Ben-Zion Uzziel in משפטי עוזיאל חלק ג חו”מ מו – Its השבת אבדה.

R’ Aharon Lichtenstein – Its “וחי בהם”.

זוהר שם – You are diminishing the צלם אלוקים.

If abortion is דרבנן, what is the אסור?

R’ Lichtenstein – All the reasons we said above could be the basis for the דרבנן (eg, if you kill a foetus you will get used to killing and kill a person). Alternatively, it could be the תורה is against this, however its only vague ethic without a particular אסור, and the רבנן crystallized it and gave it a definite אסור.

הלכה למעשה

If she is pregnant because of rape or adultery, if the pregnancy will exacerbate internal diseases which will her cause her to be unhealthy (however won’t kill her) or will cause her to die early (ie, it will take years off her life), if the pregnancy will cause her psychiatric/mental problems, or if there are serious social or economic factors, the ציץ אליעזר is generally מקל while R’ Moshe Feinstein and R’ Unterman are generally מחמר, while R’ Aharon Lichtenstein says it depends at what stage of development the foetus is in: if it could be taken out of the womb and survive he is מחמר, while if it won’t he is מקל.

Stages of Development

Obviously development begins at conception.

Embryonic Period – The point in time when the major structures begin to form, generally starting 40 days after conception.

Fetal Period – The point in time when there is maturation of tissues and organs, generally starting 9 weeks after conception.

Viabilitiy – The point in time when the foetus would be able to survive outside the womb. In the time of the גמרא (about 500CE) a foetus sometimes wasn’t even viable at 8 months, while nowadays due to technology the foetus is viable in 22 weeks or 5 and ½ months (and this time is due to shorten with further medical advancements).

:יבמות סט – Refers to the first 40 days of development as מי בעלמא (just water).

שרידי אש חלק ג סימן קכז – Therefore abortion is permitted during this time.

R’ Unterman – Is מחמר even during the first 40 days since the גמרא and many ראשונים say that if she is found pregnant during the first 40 days and the embryo’s health is threatened we can be מחלל שבת to help it.

R’ Yosef Dov Soloveitchik – The reason why we are מחלל שבת is because it can keep other שבתות, and thats why we can מחלל שבת here (since there is the potential), however this doesn’t mean that its אסור to perform abortion.

From after 40 days until the first trimester;

:משנה בכורות מז – Recognizes the first trimester.

יביע אומר חלק ד אה”ע סימן ח – Because of this in the first three months there is no אסור of abortion, even for a non-Jew.

Between 3 months and viability most פסוקים are much more מחמר about abortion.

ציץ אליעזר – Is מקל, possibly even up to 6-7 months. One example of this; חלק ז סימן מח (?) – Its מותר to perform an abortion in a מקום צער מרובה and צריך גדול (this seems to include social and economic problems).

If the mother has a heart condition;

R’ Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky – The foetus is a רודף.

If the mother will become sick;

ציץ אליעזר חלק ו סימן מח (?no such סימן?) – Its מותר to do an abortion.

If the child will have tay sachs, aids, down syndrome etc;

?אגרות משה חו”מ חלק א סימן – Is מחמר.

ציץ אליעזר חלק ט סימן ג אות ג ס”ק ט, חלק ט סימן נא, חלק ג סימן קב – Is מקל.

If her pregnancy is as a result of rape;

שאילת יעבץ חלק א סימן מג (R’ Yaakov Emden) – Is מקל

However, others are מחמר.
If the pregnancy is as a result of adultery;

פוסקים are מחמר since its her responsibility.

Typically the protocol of פסק regarding abortion is if the woman feels there is great economic difficulty, etc, we try to abort during the first 40 days, however in a great need we abort even during the first trimester. Also, the best means of abortion is to use a drug if possible.

What about the רמב”ם, how do we explain him according to those who are מקל?

R’ Chaim Soloveitchik on this רמב”ם;

שו”ע חו”מ תכה:ב – If you are in a boat and there is a donkey in a boat zipping by your boat and the donkey jumps into your boat and you are going to capsize if you don’t get rid of the donkey, מדין רודף you can kill it.

Why is a donkey a רודף, it doesn’t know what its doing? Since its not a full being you can use the דין of רודף to kill it. Therefore, a foetus isn’t fully formed, so its like the donkey and you can apply the דין of רודף, however once it emerges its considered a fully formed being, so since its not its fault that its killing the mother you can no longer use רודף to kill it.