Not sure which was more shocking, that a former director of the pediatrics department of Shaare Zedek Medical Center and professor (emeritus) of pediatrics at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medicine School would write an article (“Religious beliefs, not legal philosophies,” July 10) justifying why abortion is simply a religious judgment being imposed upon the American public, or his absurd statement that the term “abortion” never occurs in the Bible.
Do you want to know why abortion is never stated in the Bible? It’s because children were so valued and so esteemed that the thought of murdering one’s child would only be a hallmark of those whose depravity and immorality went so far as to think that sacrificing their children to the Canaanite deity known as Molech would earn them favor. But, it should be known that the biblical punishment for such an offense was death (Leviticus 18:21)!
Bearing children was considered to be such a great blessing that if any woman found herself unable to do so, her soul would literally become embittered to the point of wishing death to befall her. Such was the story of Rachel in the Genesis 30 account when she saw that she was unable to become pregnant. Enraged, she went to her husband, Jacob, and demanded, “Give me children, or I’ll die.”
Ironically, Rachel ended up dying in childbirth as she delivered her second child, Benjamin, but there’s no doubt, when looking at the full context of her position on childbearing, that she would have gladly made the same choice again.
A similar story, from I Samuel 1, is told relating to Hannah, who, dealing with her state of barrenness, wept bitterly, in the temple in Shiloh, as she prayed for a child with all her heart. So sincere was she in her request to have a child, that she solemnly vowed to give him up, at an early age, to the temple priest, in order to be of service to God.
Women in the Bible understood that having children was a privilege, a blessing and a great honor bestowed upon them by the Almighty. That is why they prayed for its realization.
Arthur Eidelman, the author of the article, claims that Christian-influenced judges are responsible for the “imposition of a specific theological belief on the American public” as it relates to their religious values concerning the status of a fetus.
I’d like to point out that the abovementioned biblical personalities were not Christians but, rather, Jewish women who greatly esteemed their role as those who ushered in the next generation.
These were the revered values of those days – values that have escaped so many of today’s humanity to the point where a pediatric doctor would actually be making the case for why abortion is a right that, when denied, “deprives the mother of her freedom to manage her own body.”
The good doctor goes on to argue against life beginning at fertilization, and states that “the belief... that the fetus in the womb has same status and rights as the living mother is a specific minority doctrine.”
Well, another Jew would take issue with that theory. His name was Jeremiah the prophet who confidently stated that the word of the Lord had come to him saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.”
Once again, not a Christian doctrine, prophet or biblical passage. In trying to move over into the “religious lane,” Eidelman, an obviously well-educated man, does himself a great disservice by speaking out of his depth on a subject about which he clearly knows little to nothing.
He speaks about the “worth of life beginning at birth,” and that having a heartbeat does not add to viability.
If that’s true, why is a heartbeat the determining factor as to the life or death of a fetus? Does a heartbeat even mean anything to this individual, whose profession is supposedly dedicated to children and their well-being? To read his words, which imply that viability happens only once they are out of the womb and no longer in their development stages of “life,” is not only disturbing but causes me to say that I should not have wished to have such a doctor when I was pregnant, nor, I suspect, would many women who care desperately for the growing life inside of them – a life for which they have waited with great joy and expectancy.
What was recently done in the US Supreme Court has no bearing in religion, doctrine or influence of an American Christian majority (although that may be debated as to whether or not that is even still the case). It was merely a long-overdue overturning of an erroneous decision that took the individual states out of the mix and attempted to make it the law of the land, protected by the Constitution, something which it is not nor ever should be.
While Eidelman may do his best to make a case for abortion, even to the point of trying to convince readers that there is no biblical injunction forbidding it, and that Jewish law, likewise, has no argument against it, this is not at all consistent with the history of the Jewish faith, the prophets or the Giver of Life!
May we never forget who actually forms us, places breath in our bodies and determines the length of our days, from inception to eternity. After all, it is because of Him that we all live and breathe – as well as have the ability to bring forth the gift of life!
The writer is a former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal. She is also the author of Mistake-Proof Parenting, available on Amazon, based on the time-tested wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs.