Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the abortion issue

Following her passing on the eve of Rosh HaShanah, many laudatory paeans to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have been written, including many that gushingly tout her activism that has inured to the benefit of the Jewish people.  Without detracting from those accomplishments of hers, this posting joins those comparatively few which dare to deviate from the total lionization of the late Madame Justice.

To be sure, when I had the privilege of very briefly meeting her in person on the occasion of my admission to practice before the United States Supreme Court, I myself was momentarily awed as I stood in her commanding presence (her petite physical stature and my own sociopolitical views notwithstanding).

But among Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s heavy load of baggage was her facilitation, nay, advocacy, of abortion. Having achieved parenthood with medical assistance (thankfully, no glassware was required), and knowing so many people who could not achieve it biologically and had to go the adoption route, the very thought of abortion when nonlethal alternatives are available is beyond repulsive to me.

The pro-abortion argument is almost always couched in terms of a woman’s right to choose what she does or does not do with her own body.  If that were the only interest at stake, then that would end the matter.

But there are other interests at stake in addition to the woman’s bodily autonomy.  The most frequently touted of these is the interest of the baby, as is evident in the phrase “right to life.”

There are other interests at stake as well.  These include the interests of the father, the interests of the grandparents, and the interests of society.

One interest not commonly discussed is the best interests of the abortionist.  I have met a number of professional abortionists in my day, and there was something about every one of them I disliked even before learning what they did for a living.  Indeed, many professional abortionists have found that the quality of their lives improved after stopping the practice.

As for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, the mother will require professional mental health treatment anyway, and the guilt of killing her own child can only complicate her healing process.  In such regard, King David himself was descended from the Moabites, whose progenitor was the product of incest between Lot and his daughter.

It does not serve the Jewish people well that a disproportionate number of us are active in pro-abortion organizations such as Planned Parenthood; many such Jews do not truly know or understand the true Jewish attitudes towards the sanctity of human life.  Such Jews have been known to leave Judaism altogether in dealing with the cognitive dissonance between the pro-abortion narrative and the true practical horrors of abortion.

Unfortunately, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was driven away from true Torah values and into the arms of various nominally Jewish groups who had assumed the liberal social justice narrative of the day.  Through this narrative, many Jewish people believe that Jewish law permits abortion once the head of the baby emerges.  This proposition is a twisted distortion of the true Jewish law.

To begin with, if there is a nonlethal alternative, then the nonlethal alternative must be taken.  One nonlethal alternative is adoption.  There are many children out there who, for whatever reason, need parents, and there are many adults out there for whom the biological process cannot facilitate parenthood, and who need children.  For example, it might not be in the interests of a baby who is the product of rape to be raised by his or her biological mother, but adoption by biological strangers can (1) give the child a sound upbringing, (2) give the adoptive parents the parenthood experience, and (3) remove an emotional obstacle from the biological mother’s healing process if she knows that her unwanted child has been given a good home.

If there is no nonlethal alternative, however, then the mother’s life takes precedence because her viability is already established and existing.  Once the baby’s head emerges, however, Jewish law will then give priority to the birthing baby.  Medical science has significantly reduced the frequency of such “either/or” situations.

Owing to the visibility of Jews in the pro-abortion camp, many non-Jews are unaware of the halakhic imperative to choose a nonlethal alternative to abortion, and believe that Jewish law’s sanctioning of abortion is without qualification.  I have set more than a few non-Jews straight on this point.

The triggering event that drove Ruth Bader Ginsburg away from true Torah values apparently was her exclusion as a female teenager from mourning the death of her mother [which fits in with my conjecture that every Jewish child who goes “off the derech” has been invalidated by a rabbi, lied to by a rabbi, abused by a rabbi, or some functional equivalent thereof; but that lies beyond the ambit of this posting.].  Her accomplishments, foul and fair, make her name an ideal one to invoke in furthering the causes she advanced during her lifetime.

So now, the pro-abortionist factions are invoking her name to advance their cause.  The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has thus elevated abortion to a more salient subplot (if not a leitmotif) in the ongoing tumultuous American social and political Kulturkampf.

About the Author
Born in Philadelphia, Kenneth lived on Long Island and made Aliyah to Israel. Professionally, he worked as a lawyer in the USA (including as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service), a college professor and an analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense. He's also a writer and a traveler.
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