The Christian view is that life begins at conception, the Jewish view is that life begins when the kids move out of the house and the goldfish dies-Unknown Jewish HumoristLast week's bill passed by the House of Representatives proposed to limit abortion after 20 weeks, and once again progressive Jewish Organizations have reacted by ignoring their stated mission and Jewish Law to bash an effort to limit abortions.
According to Ron Kampeas Washington reporter for the very liberal JTA (a Jewish News Site). Some organizations are up in arms about the bill.
For Example Hadassah condemned the vote and said it would
“continue to fight attempts to restrict, through federal legislation, state administrative regulations, or court action, the right to reproductive choice and family planning programs delivering any and all services.”
According to Hadassah's website the group is the:
Women's Zionist Organization of America, is a volunteer organization that inspires a passion for and commitment to its partnership with the land and people of Israel. It enhances the health of people worldwide through its support of medical care and research at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Hadassah empowers its members and supporters, as well as youth in Israel and America through opportunities for personal growth, education, advocacy and Jewish continuity.Nothing in its mission mentions reproductive rights.
According to its mission, Reform Judaism is all about:
Reform Judaism affirms the central tenets of Judaism - God, Torah and Israel - even as it acknowledges the diversity of Reform Jewish beliefs and practices. We believe that all human beings are created in the image of God, and that we are God’s partners in improving the world.Tikkun olam — repairing the world — is a hallmark of Reform Judaism as we strive to bring peace, freedom and justice to all people.They told Kampeas:
“We know that yesterday’s vote was symbolic, since the Senate will not take up the bill and the president has said he would veto it,” Barbara Weinstein, the director of the Reform movement’s Commission on Social Action, said in a statement. “Yet the symbolism of the bill’s House passage is indeed important, demonstrating the unfortunate reality that women’s reproductive rights remain at risk.”But if their mission is the "central tenets of Judaism - God, Torah and Israel" why then did Ms Weinstein give her opinion without mentioning were Jewish law (Halacha) talks about Abortion?
Probably the reason is that Halacha does not support abortion except in the extreme case where the mother's life is in danger. It does not permit abortion on demand.
In Jewish law every case needs to be individually evaluated by a rabbi -- who when necessary will consult with medical professionals and/or rabbis who are experts in this particular field of law., but only in cases where continuing the pregnancy would put the mother's life in serious danger. And in those cases even if it is hours before the baby is to be born, if it will kill the mother than abortion is permitted. In those specific cases Halacha insists that the fetus must be aborted, it is considered self defense just as is shooting someone before they shoot you.
However, this is all only as long as the fetus is a "life-in-potential". Once the baby's head has emerged from the birth canal, it is a full-fledged human being of the same status as the mother. At that point, we are not supposed give precedent to either life it's left up to God.
Jewish teachings are decidedly pro-life, as the Mishnah says:
Whoever destroys one life is as if he destroyed a whole world, and whoever preserves a life is as if he preserved the whole world.Jews in biblical times fought against pagans who sacrificed their children to idols, as the Torah says in Leviticus 18:21 Do not pass your children through the fire..
The sages taught that when Jews were slaves in Egypt and the Pharaoh declared that every male childe must be killed, parents did not abort their babies and that is one of the reasons we were released from slavery.
Even though it was decreed that "every son that is born you shall cast into the river", (Ex. 1:22) there was not found among them a person who would kill a fetus in the stomach of a woman, all the more so [not to kill it] after [it was born]. Through this merit, Israel went out of exile. (Zohar Shemot 3B)
That an Israelite parent might consider intentionally aborting a foetus seems almost beyond the moral horizon of the Torah's original audience. For in the moral environment where the law was first received, the memory of genocide and infanticide was still fresh [and] every birth was precious. (Lenn E. Goodman, Judaism, Human Rights, and Human Values, OUP 1998).So when groups such as the ADL who describes itself as " the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all, but supports Partial Birth and other forms of Abortion on demand and urges both parties to adopt a pro-choice stance in their presidential platforms they are not only forgetting their mission, but they are ignoring Jewish Law.