Jews are probably amongst the most devout abortion supporters in America.

American Jews are probably amongst the most devout abortion supporters in America.  Those Jews who vote on the abortion-ticket like to point to a very old rabbinic tradition holding that, if a woman is dying during labor, it is acceptable to kill the child, provided that the child has not yet seen the light of day.  Later rabbinic thought expanded this holding to place the child’s life over the mother’s at all times.

These were always narrow exceptions, though.  Pragmatic considerations had to be balanced against God’s injunction to “choose life” and to “be fruitful and multiply.”  Also, in pre-modern times, abortion was both unpopular and risky, and medicine limited a physician’s ability even to assess the risks a pregnant woman was facing.  The early Jewish philosophers were dealing with anomalies that justified abortion, not with Planned Parenthood clinics in every neighborhood.

Although the rabbis wouldn’t recognize abortion today, modern Jews rely on ancient and narrow rabbinical strictures to embrace an ideology that allows abortion, not only in life and death situations, but at all points in time during the pregnancy, and for all reasons.  I grew up, therefore, in a very abortion-friendly milieu.

I also grew up in a Holocaust milieu.  Without exception, all of the older Jewish people whom I knew when I was growing up had a connection to the Holocaust, whether they’d escaped it or lost people to it.  The Holocaust was a defining backdrop to my childhood.

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