Reply To: Health Care Overhaul

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Ben Levi,

Have you ever spoken with a posek about abortion? My wife asked one whether it was permissible for her to teach medical residents how to perform an abortion. To her surprise (mine, too) the answer was yes, because some abortions are mandatory under halachah and therefore we must train physicians in how to perform them.

The fact is, the vast majority of poskim do not consider abortion to be murder. (IIRC, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was a daat yachid here.) For Jews it is not a capital offense even when prohibited. Some poskim even permit aborting a child with a chromosomal defect; Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg z’tz’l was as prominent a posek in Eretz Yisrael as Rav Moshe and he permitted aborting a Tay-Sachs fetus and recently Rabbi Shlomo Aviner permitted aborting a Down’s syndrome fetus. For non-Jews it can be a capital offense but so too theft of less than a pruta! Our religion does not view abortion the same way as the Catholic church which treats a fertilized ovum as a full human (hence their opposition to the assisted reproductive technologies we frum folks support) not the same way as the mainline Protestants who do not see abortion as inherently evil at all.

Furthermore most administrations of capital punishment in the US would likely be murder because the administration of death penalties here does not meet even the minimum Noachide standards, such as the requirement for an eyewitness. Do you object to your tax dollars going to prosecutions?