[Avodah] Shapiro Gives Fiery, Unprecedented Assault On Abortion On His Fox News Special

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Oct 8 19:50:38 PDT 2018

On Mon, Oct 08, 2018 at 05:39:41PM -0400, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
: Shapiro then reached the apex of his argument:
:> Human life is a continuous process of growth, from the moment of
:> fertilization onward. Abortion is the killing of this human life.

Well, Rav Moshe holds as much, but most posqim do not.

Shapiro is conflating the fact that Yahadus considers abortion a
serious avlah with Pro-Life rhetoric that the avlah happens to be

Halachipidia <http://halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Abortion>
has the following list (my translitations):

    What is the Prohibition?

    1. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein - abortion is considered murder. However,
       this murder does not come with a death penalty. There are some
       cases of murder when the murderer does not get the death penalty.
       One of these cases is someone who murders one who is terminally
       ill. [4]

    2. Rabbi Issar Unterman - abortion is considered abuzraihu deretzichah
       akin to murder.[5]

    3. It is a violation of the positive commandment of peru urvu Part of
       the commandment is to allow every potential soul to come into
       being, and if one does abortion, they cannot do this. [6]

    4. Spilling the seed/Onanism. The fetus is more similar to the basic
       seed than to a human, so destroying the fetus would be like
       destroying the seed.[7]

    5. Aborting the fetus is injuring the mother (Chavalah). Exodus 21
       says that if two men are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and
       there is no death, but the fetus is miscarried, then they have
       to pay a monetary payment. So the fetus is more a part of the
       mother than a separate life. [8]

    6. It is a Rabbinical prohibition. There is no clear prohibition in
       the Torah, so our only real sources are the rabbinical sources.[9]

    7. According to the Zohar, one who kills a fetus is guilty of
       destroying God's handiwork. [10] it is unclear if this constitutes
       a different view of the technical prohibition, or if this is just
       a reasoning explaining the severity of abortion. A punishment
       unlike that for murder is detailed.

    [4] Iggros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat, Part 2, Chapter 69
    [5] I.Y. Unterman, Noam VI (1963), 1-11 as cited in David Feldman,
        Birth Control In Jewish Law
    [6] Yevamos 63b
    [7] Talmud Bavli: Niddah 13a; Chavos Yair, Siman 31
    [8] Exodus 21:22
    [9] Sanhedrin 72; Tzitz Eliezer, Jerusalem, 1963, volume VII, number
        48, p. 190.
    [10] Hok L'Yisrael, Shemot for Monday, Zohar, Shemot 3b

Note how most shitos do say the fetus is not a person. #5 in particular
is based on the idea that the fetus is an organ of the mother. (Which is
also consistent with pen paqua.) No.s 3, 4 and 7 are about stopping the
process of later producing a person. Likely #2 (abuzraihu deretzichah)
as well, although it could be some other near-retzichah connection. And
as for #6, it depends which deOraisa the deRabbanan is supporting. But
even so, not retzichah, no human life yet.

As the Bach explains the Rambam's position... You can abort a fetus
to save the life of the mother a moment before it would have crowned,
because it is kerotzeiach -- LIKE a rotzeiach. But it's not actually a
rotzeiach, which is why in the same situation but a moment later, once
the baby did crown, one could not commit infanticide to save the mother.
A fetus before crowning is not subject to the same issur as after.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It's never too late
micha at aishdas.org        to become the person
http://www.aishdas.org   you might have been.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                      - George Eliot

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