If you have been paying attention to the most recent brouhaha in the United States, you would have seen an emboldened ProLife movement passing extraordinarily restrictive antiabortion laws in certain states. At this moment, however, several judges have stopped these laws from taking effect. But the battle has just begun in the effort to overturn abortion rights in the US.
Now in response to these laws, there have been any number of articles written by Jewish Americans discussing the Halakhic points about abortion. We do understand that abortion is permitted under Jewish Law, with certain caveats of course. We also all know, that the State of Israel permits abortion, and you are truly hard pressed to find any case where a woman was denied one.
The irony though is that if you ask these same progressive Jewish Americans, writing how these excessive abortion laws are an infringement on their religious liberty, about keeping kosher, Jewish divorce laws, matrilineal versus patrilineal descent, conversion requirements or any number of inconvenient requirements under traditional Jewish law, you would be tagged a backwards luddite afraid of dealing with the way things are now.
Science is paramount, they say; women are equal to men, not chattel; take a realistic approach to interfaith marriage; forget Rashi, Rambam, the Baal ShemTov, or the Vilna Goan as the arbiters of how we should deal with the way life works in the modern world. Forget Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah precisely where he writes that the Torah was divinely given and unquestionable. But listen to him when it comes to abortion, and the non-personhood of unborn children.
Listen, it’s not about being ProChoice or ProLife. Progressives point to science for climate change, but ignore the science that shows unborn children feel pain, and respond to stimuli in the womb. Pointing to science for any number of medical miracles, such as performing successful surgeries on unborn children, but ignoring it when it inconveniences your political opinion about abortion is simply hypocritical.
Yes, there are horrendous situations, and extraordinary painful choices that people have to make. No one is denying that. (This article is not about that)
In the end, if you reject Jewish Law when it comes to how you live your life on a daily basis, then don’t point to it when the topic is a modern legal issue. Jewish Law is not about picking and choosing. You either follow it or you don’t.
Find another avenue to defend your positions.
If you can’t come up with one without being duplicitous, then maybe, just maybe, your point of view is wrong.