Weighing in on the Texas law prohibiting abortions after six weeks’ gestation except in cases of medical necessity, Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1,500 Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy, called the law a step in the right direction, better aligned with mainstream Jewish values, Rabbinic texts, and legal codes.
“The Texas statute demands that human life be cherished, while recognizing that the mother’s well-being takes precedence in a medical emergency,” said CJV Southern Regional Vice President Rabbi Moshe Parnes.
As outlined in CJV’s statement on abortion, the Torah identifies human life as a soul placed (breathed) within a body by G-d himself, with inestimable sanctity and value. Jewish legal codes likewise value a fetus as a clear and identifiable human life. The Talmud and Code of Jewish Law require violation of the Sabbath, which is permitted only to save a life, to open the womb of a deceased woman whose fetus may have survived. Abortion is permitted only in order to save the life of the mother, “because her life precedes his.”
“The simple truth is that Jewish Law prohibits abortion,” said CJV Rabbinic Circle Chairman Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer. “This prohibition may be overridden to save the mother’s life, which is also recognized in the Texas Heartbeat Law. An on-demand approach to abortion, no matter what Jewish advocates may say, violates Judaism’s clear and emphatic declaration of the sanctity of life.”
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