MW Jewish Thought
Jewish Ethics on Abortion
There is a problem going on not only in the Jewish world but in America, too. That problem is whether or not it is ethical for a mother to have an abortion. In America there are two different popular concepts. They are pro-life and pro-choice. Pro-life is the campaign that says that you shouldn't abort no matter what and pro-choice says that it is your choice whether or not to abort. They both have convincing arguments. The Jewish aspect is more complicated than pro-life or pro-choice. There are a number of Jewish tests that relate to this issue of abortion.
There are two different kinds of abortion that Judaism talks about: therapeutic abortion and accidental abortion. Therapeutic abortion is an abortion that is deliberately done because the mother does not want to have a baby. Accidental abortion is when something causes trauma so that there is a miscarriage.
The Torah specifically tells you what to do in case of something happens.1 The man who causes the miscarriage gets fined according to the woman's husband and the judges. The Torah clearly does not give the fetus the status of a human life. If the Torah did give the fetus the value of a human life the man would have been put to death2. So according to this text accidental abortion is something that is alright to do because it is nobody's fault except for the person who causes the miscarriage.
Therapeutic abortion is a different thing. The Talmud says that if a woman is in labor and her life is in danger they should cut up and remove the fetus limb by limb because her life takes precedence over the fetus. But if the greater part was already born,