Monday, July 30, 2018

When Is Abortion Okay?

Nadene Goldfoot                           

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1973), was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that declared a pregnant woman is entitled to have an abortion until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy without any interference by the state.

Our law of Roe versus Wade is a federal decision from 1973 by the USA Supreme Court deciding on when it's okay to have an abortion.  They decided that the woman's decision for an abortion must balance with the state interests of regulating abortions that would protect women's health and a potential human life.  The longer the pregnancy goes,the stronger the state becomes involved, of course.  This is why the 3rd trimester of a pregnancy is the most important time of if it's feasible or not.  This law gives women a legal right to have an abortion.  Her decision.  


 The third trimester, or 27th week of gestation. The point at which an abortion becomes late-term is often related to the "viability" (ability to survive outside the uterus) of the fetus. Sometimes late-term abortions are referred to as post-viability abortions.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD got involved saying that a woman has the whole right of choice until the time of fetal viability-the time to live outside the mother's womb with artificial aid if necessary which could happen at 23 or 24 weeks or even earlier because of medical advances. The government finances was supporting this group.  
The government is the largest source of Planned Parenthood revenue, according to the group's classification.

On their webpage, this is their thought about abortion:  "If you’re thinking about having an abortion, you’re so not alone. Millions of people face unplanned pregnancies every year, and about 4 out of 10 of them decide to get an abortion. Some people with planned pregnancies also get abortions because of health or safety reasons. Overall, 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they’re 45 years old."  They are advising the woman considering having an abortion.  Their considerations seem to be centering on the safety of having an abortion.  "The risk of death associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy, from 0.3 for every 100,000 abortions at or before eight weeks to 6.7 per 100,000 at 18 weeks or later."  

The law of Roe v Wade started a national debate which continues on today when abortion should be legal and where religious views come into the situation.   This became an issue in national politics which has divided our country into pro-life and pro-choice camps with pro-active people and movements becoming very involved.

It is not new.  Abortions have been going on throughout history.  The USA has had back alley abortions going on throughout many years.  Money will buy someone to perform an abortion regardless whether the woman dies or not from it.  That's why laws come to the forefront.  

However, abortion was first a situation that had to have religion say something about it, since it involves the life of the mother and the life of a potential child of the mother.  
Week 4 of fetal development

Judaism is our oldest monotheistic religion and had something to say about abortions immediately which we find written in the Torah (the 5 books of Moses). More is said about it in our Mishnah (Oholot 7:6) written at the end of the 2nd century.  This is the compilation of legal codification of the Oral Law of Moses, like a book lawyers would use about our laws.    My favorite commentator, Rashi, who goes back to when he was born in 1040 CE in Troyes, France, has a lot to say.  The Talmud also has much to say about it with Rashi's comments. 

It is not permitted to murder one person in order to save the life of another.  

The question between different religions is this:  Is a fetus at any age considered a person?  When does a fetus turn into a person?  

In Judaism, a fetus is not considered a life until once the greater part of the child has emerged from the womb.  Then it is considered as if the child had been born and the child is then a person in Jewish law.  

The situation is centered around the possibility that the mother is in grave danger and could die from an abortion.  Today, in a clinical setting, this is usually not the case as it was about 50 years ago and more.  

An example case in the Mishnah is: if the mother to be is in the act of giving birth and is having an exceptional hard time of it and her life is in danger now, the mother has priority over the life of the child and the child should be aborted.  However, if the greater part of the child has already appeared from the womb, it is considered to have been already born and the mother's life cannot be saved by destroying her child.  I would think that with that much of the child already here, the mother would not have died, hopefully, but possibly not hundreds of years ago.
                  Abortion to Save the Mother's Life
A potential child who has appeared with more than half his body already is called a nefesh, a life.  
A fetus is called a rodef, a pursuer which is causing the potential death of the mother.  In this case it is natural causes that is the root of the problem that Heaven has caused and is not the fault of the rodef.  The destruction of the rodef is not looked upon as an act of murder in this case.  This is the only way in which the mother's life can be saved.  Feticide, then, is not considered a homicide.  

The subject of abortion, however is a serious offense and is only to be undertaken for the weightiest of reasons.  Today, if there are any codifiers in our country deciding on the legitimacy of an abortion, their reasons would vary.

1. Many permit abortion when the birth of a child would cause the mother to lose her sanity.
2. Many would permit it if the doctors are of the opinion that the child would be born seriously deformed or as an imbecile such as the case of the thalidomide babies.
3. Many would permit it in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape, especially the rape of a married woman.

                             A religious background: 

 4. No abortion clinic should permit abortion for economic reasons.
 5. No abortion clinic should permit abortion where the child is simply unwanted by the mother for her own personal reasons without a doctor advising it.  

Other religions will argue that a fetus once conceived is a life and are adamant against abortions that today would be happening most likely under the listing of # 4 and #5, because a woman has decided to not be pregnant, not because her life is threatened.  Most likely the woman is unmarried and poor and feels she is not in a position of raising a child. 

Today, in our changing society, men and women are not expecting to marry by a certain age any more.  They may not even want or need to marry ..  Unwanted pregnancies are being prevented by over the counter aids, available for all to use.  Yet there are still women in need because of an unwanted pregnancy and clinics available and ready to perform an abortion.  

A girl not ready to have a baby can feel that the world has fallen on their heads when they find out they're pregnant and they are not married.  The rush to an abortion clinic to fix the problem will be the first thought of solving the problem.  If a boyfriend is involved, the two will talk it over and make a decision, which will no doubt be a financial decision.  

There are women today who want a baby before it's too late for them and they are unable to conceive one,  and they will even go to clinics for artificial insemination, skipping the middle man and not needing a father for the baby. There is less stigma today in having a baby out of wedlock.  We see people in show business doing it openly.   We are living in different times.  But the old situation of how we bring in life or not is still on the books.  Are we looking upon a potential life as a special act where we will continue to think of life as something very special?  Or is it something to take easily away either as a partially born baby or a young man 21 on the battlefield or in the streets?  When is "life" not precious and something to guard?   

I'm happy to know that mankind was given thought and  laws about such an act as birthing.  Otherwise we might not all be here to enjoy life.  
b: February 12, 1965 in Washington, DC, Brett Michael Kavanaugh is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He previously was White House Staff Secretary during the presidency of George W. Bush.  His education comes from  Yale Law SchoolMater Dei SchoolGeorgetown Preparatory SchoolYale CollegeYale University
We have a potential judge that is being considered to join our supreme court and the Roe v Wade law is going to be one of the first considerations in deciding to accept him, no doubt.  Judge Brett Kavanaugh was chosen by President Trump for the new Supreme Court justice.  Perhaps we'll know by Fall if he is confirmed or not.  

A potential Supreme Court Judge is facing a society where 1 out of 4 women in the USA will have an abortion if this continues.  The reason for one seems to be left to the woman whose body is involved and has rights over her body.  Let's hope she also has considered her other parts, like her thinking.  Does she have parents?  How do they feel about it?  The growing tendency is that religion is waning.  Is morality waning with it?  

I believe that if the government is stepping in, considerations like sanitation and safety from abortions of course are a #1 consideration.  In our government, religion is not a part of our laws.  We have many differing religions here.  Our government has to be extra careful not to impose one religion over another, but still, we hope our people will make good moralistic decisions themselves from their own familial educational system.  Some will have religious beliefs but those that don't hopefully will have morals helping them make their best decisions.   

Resource:  Book:  What does Judaism say about..?  by Louis Jacobs

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