Thursday, June 30, 2022

Rabbinic Mythbusting

Here's a colorful comment that someone under the name of Leah wrote on my previous post regarding abortion:

"Thank you "rabbi" slifkin for bending over backwards to demonstrate how liberal you are. The vast majority of world renown poskim, including R Moshe, actually maintain unequivocally that abortion is a form of murder. You are a shill. A dult with a compromised level of intelligence. Your books are silly. You are silly. Everyone knows you are a ruined person.... A horrified liberal wannabe. And a failed human to boot."

Well, I've been called worse. But my curiosity was piqued - what was a liberal wannabe like me purportedly horrified at? Someone else called Shimshon helpfully explained that Leah was referring to the mesorah. Apparently I was horrified at the mesorah, which views abortion as murder, and thus, explained Shimshon, I "mocked and denigrated it."

So near, and yet so far.

Yes, I was, and continue to be, horrified. But not at "the mesorah." Rather, at how people utterly misrepresent what "the mesorah" is, to the extent that it is actually they who are distorting the history of rabbinic opinions over the ages.

I've long been both horrified and fascinated by a particular phenomenon: when the widespread perception of rabbinic thought regarding a topic turns out to be the exact opposite of the reality of rabbinic thought regarding that topic. And over the last few years, I've come across a few.

The first was with regard to Chazal's knowledge of scientific matters. Until then, I'd assumed that the notion that Chazal could be fallible in scientific matters was a legitimate but minority view, with the majority view being that they had divine inspiration for everything that they said. But after studying the the topic of the sun's path at night, I realized that the exact opposite was the case - at least in the times of the Rishonim, the majority view was that Chazal were fallible in scientific matters. 

Subsequently I discovered this phenomenon with several other topics. Given my field of interest, I was encountering them in topics relating to rationalism versus mysticism. Abortion has very little to do with this, and so it was particularly interesting for me to see this phenomenon appearing again.

I think that Leah and Shimshon accurately reflect popular notions about the Torah position on abortion. There is a widespread assumption is that it's a form of murder (and thus almost never permitted), and that the consensus of rabbinic opinion says the same. In fact, the exact opposite is the case. Yes, you can find opinions which state that, especially among 20th century poskim (and it is interesting to analyze why this view suddenly peaked during that period). Rav Moshe Feinstein is, of course, the most prominent example - though even he admits that the fetus is not a full life, and says that it is a "somewhat of a life."

But when you actually study the history of rabbinic thought over the ages, it becomes abundantly clear that the majority rabbinic view over the ages is that abortion is not homicide in any shape or form. Of course, it is still generally severely prohibited, and there is no basis whatsoever in Judaism for the notion that a woman (or a man) has the right to do whatever they want with their body. But it is not any form of homicide (and accordingly there are various circumstances under which it can be permissible and actually mandatory). This in turn is based on the straightforward understanding of various laws in the Mishnah and discussions in the Gemara. 

For example, the execution of a woman who is pregnant is not delayed to allow the birth of her child, since the fetus is considered to be merely a part of the woman rather than a separate life. And the Gemara, discussing the case of a woman dying in childbirth, where she may be saved at the expense of the fetus if its head has not yet emerged, rejects the notion that this is due to the fetus being considered a rodef (another human acting as a murderer); instead, as Rashi and the other commentaries explain, the reason it is permitted is that the fetus is not yet a nefesh. Meanwhile, Ramban and his disciples use the fact of the Torah requiring monetary payments of damages for killing a fetus as evidence that there is no form of homicide involved. In fact, the big challenge for rabbinic authorities over the centuries was to figure out exactly why abortion is prohibited, precisely because it is not any kind of homicide - and the general answer was that it is prohibited as a form of physical injury to the mother, or that it is an act of wanton destruction of seed.

(Even in contemporary times, it is simply not true to state that the "vast majority of world renowned poskim maintain unequivocally that abortion is a form of murder." The most prominent posek on such matters was Rav Eliezer Waldenberg, who sat on the Jerusalem Beis Din with Rav Elyashiv and was considered the preeminent posek regarding questions of medical halacha. He followed the classical approach that it is not generally considered any form of murder, with its resultant leniencies, and plenty of other "world renowned" poskim would refer abortion cases to him.)

When I pointed this out, citing an article by Rav Eliezer Melamed on the topic, Shimshon responded as follows:

"This isn't me you are arguing with, clever one. The Rambam disagrees, and very explicitly and strongly. No, don't ask me for the cite. I've seen it, mentioned by non-anonymous rabbis. I don't even doubt you are familiar with it. I'll take his opinion over a modern-day rabbi notorious for his iconoclasm (that's to put it mildly and euphemistically) on various controversial issues. How can he ignore the Rambam? He can't, but he does, because he would have no choice but to argue against it. The rabbis I know don't. He does. What does that say about him? Are there no comments from the last 1500 years on the subject he will draw from? That's severe cherry picking. And even then, his Talmudic references and the logical inferences he makes do no follow."

Now, of course it should first be noted that Rambam is hardly the only opinion that counts. But even when it comes to Rambam, his position is most certainly not "very explicit and strong." In fact, Rambam's apparent position that the fetus is a life (deduced from his description of abortion being permitted for a woman about to die in childbirth due to the fetus being a rodef) is viewed by rabbinic authorities as  problematic, precisely because it conflicts with the straightforward understanding of the Mishnah and Gemara (which seems to rejected that line of reasoning). For this reason, numerous authorities explain Rambam in such a way that he is not rating abortion as a form of homicide.

Alas, I suspect it would be a mistake to presume that actual sources in Chazal, Rishonim and Acharonim would sway those who are determined to argue that abortion is homicide and anyone who says otherwise is a "horrified liberal wannabe." The key is revealed in the accusation of my being a "liberal" (even if only a wannabe). For many people, their opinion on abortion is the same as their opinions on Covid restrictions, the reliability of the 2020 US election results, and everything else - it is governed by the powerful tribalism of their social identity. How strange it is that this leads to them rejecting mainstream positions in rabbinic law out of hand.

I am indeed horrified. But then again, I'm a dult with a compromised level of intelligence, and a failed human to boot, so what do I know?


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206 comments:

  1. I believe the correct word is....Dolt....
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dolt
    David Ilan

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    1. Correct! But are you arguing with Leah? What kind of horrified liberal wannabe are you?

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    2. I'm a very proud observant and halachically accurate Liberal.
      David Ilan

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    3. There is nothing liberal about Covid restrictions. John Locke, Adam Smith and John Stewart Mill are probably turning in their graves now that "liberalism" has been usurped by neo-Marxists.

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    4. Enough with the sources! We follow the newly updated Mesorah, you dult. ;)

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    5. "There is nothing liberal about Covid restrictions. John Locke, Adam Smith and John Stewart Mill are probably turning in their graves now that "liberalism" has been usurped by neo-Marxists. "

      Very silly comment. There are plenty of non-Marxist gov't, indeed conservative gov'ts, who imposed covid restrictions.

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    6. How does that prove that covid restrictions are in line with liberalism?

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    7. No, he meant liberal, not liberal.
      Liberal yet you be related to it's etymology.

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  2. Isn't the word spelled "dolt"?

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  3. Does Shimshon believe that modern psak always follows the Rambam's opinion in non-abortion contexts? ๐Ÿค”

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  4. Does Shimshon believe that we always follow Rambam over other authorities in non-abortion contexts?

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    1. My point is, no one has provided a rebuttal to the Rambam's statement abortion and goyim. You can't ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist, like the psak Slifkin provided. It exists and must be addressed, even if ultimately rejected.

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    2. The Rambam is taking about a full term (9 month old) foetus on the cusp of being delivered. There is a different calculus earlier in the pregnancy where considerations of rodef are less relevant and it becomes more of a question of hashchasas zera / chavolla.

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    3. None other then Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky the leader of Lithuanian Jewry before WWII writes in his teshuvas Achiezer (Sheilot U’Tshuvot Achiezer, vol. 3, no.72:3) that Rambam’s designation of a fetus as
      a rodeif was only necessary for instances where labor had begun, at which time the fetus has detached from the womb. However, be- fore this stage even Rambam considers the fetus a mere limb of the mother! Of course, we sacrifice one limb to save the entire being. This position also appears to view abortion as prohibited under the rubric of wounding.

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  5. Excellent post!
    I would add that even though from a halachic point of view abortion is still mostly forbidden, the reasons for that are not ones that should make orthodox jews ferocious pro-life advocates.
    But of course it's like everything, it comes with the package.

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  6. Shimshon is not a very intelligent fellow. He is a worshipper of insane right-wing lunatic Vox Day, and delights in calling other people gammas (a made-up insult by Vox Day.) I am surprised you let him comment on your site at all.

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    1. Ash, you don't know what gamma means. It's not an insult. It's a label for a collection of observable behaviors. Not only are they observable, they enable one to accurately (far more often than not) predict responses to stimuli by those who exhibit gamma behaviors.

      As far as Slifkin, to his credit, whatever that means, he does seem to employ a fairly liberal free speech policy. I am sure there is some line, but why would I cross it?

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    2. For the genuinely intellectual curious, here are sources on what the gamma label means and how to extricate oneself from the behaviors that the label describes:

      The Gamma
      Graduating Gamma 1
      Graduating Gamma 2
      Graduating Gamma 3
      Graduating Gamma 4

      Slifkin's penchant for gaslighting mind games is a classic gamma behavior. This is just one example. It's only insulting because the behaviors are so reprehensible. He and his fellow gammas take great pleasure in it, but the non-gammas in the commenting audience are horrified at it, as a recent post on the subject demonstrates.

      While people like to treat labels like ADD/ADHD/etc. as diagnoses, they are not, really. They are, like Gamma, useful labels for collections of behavior. Like Gamma, labeling someone that may be insulting, but it doesn't have to be.

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    3. I hadn't heard of "Vox Day". Sounds like a piece of work -- "society needs to be under White Christian masculine rule". Classy.

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    4. "Slifkin's penchant for gaslighting mind games is a classic gamma behavior. "

      You don't know what gaslighting means.

      It's late 2022, and the term gaslighting isn't trending anymore. Except by crazy people.

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    5. Ephraim, you don't know what I am referring to, yet you decide to challenge me anyway. I used this exact phrase in a comment to one of Slifkin's posts. It describes his behavior perfectly. Of course, the term "pathological liar" does too. He loves to post false things presented as true, backed by his authority, with no hint in the post as to its falsehood. It is literal gaslighting. Then, later, the reveal, with an "aw shucks why do people believe me" response?

      Why challenge it here, but not there, where I first said it?

      See elsewhere in the comments here for a list of gamma behaviors.

      The OP is guilty of conflation, mixing my words up with Leah's.

      Dave engages in this:

      Appeal to false authority – “I have a PhD in physics (or nose picking) therefore my ideas on physics (or nose picking) are correct” – No. No they are not. Correct ideas are correct. Wrong ones are wrong.

      You engage in sophistry (changing the definition of gaslighting) and "Appeal to authority falsely" (as if Google is the last word on the proper and timely use of a word) and "outright lying." It is a lie to say I don't know what the word means. And, as mentioned, you are clueless of the context I used it.

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    6. Joe Q, Israel for the Jews. America for the posterity mentioned in the Constitution, and those that join them.

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    7. "He loves to post false things presented as true, backed by his authority, with no hint in the post as to its falsehood. It is literal gaslighting."

      That's not what "gaslighting" means. And that's not what "literal" means. If Ingrid Bergman was literally gaslit, the film would have looked awful.

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    8. Ephraim, it was easy to predict you would respond and attack. You have redefined the word and have not provided your definition ("sophistry"). Since you claim I got it so wrong, please provide a definition of the word gaslighting so we (and I mean we, not me) understand what you mean when you say no gaslighting was done.

      Normal people, that is, non-gammas (gamma are, by definition, socially retarded) consider what Slifkin does gaslighting. There were plenty of comments in his most recent gaslighting post who were, at least, bothered by what he did, if not greatly disturbed. They did not like being misled. Why? Because what Slifkin did "makes you question your beliefs and perception of reality".

      A cursory look on Google provides this colloquial definition (which is pretty consistent across the many I checked):

      "Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation. Gaslighting happens when an abuser or bully makes you question your beliefs and perception of reality."

      You can (and probably do) argue that Slifkin doesn't have the motive to "emotionally abuse and manipulate" but that's your opinion, not fact, and his actions are objectively abusive and manipulative and certainly "makes you question your beliefs and perception of reality". Further, given his history, and the way he was undeniably (do you deny?) gaslit by his fellow students in the horrifying story he retold recently, he is just doing to others what was done to him to such impressive effect, although less elaborately. Abuse begets abuse, and the abuser doesn't consider what he does abuse.

      You literally want to attack me on every single thing I say, no matter what the subject or how correct it is. I get picking a fight with me on abortion. Arguing with me on this is retarded and gamma. But you have to have the last word (also gamma) and cannot ever admit being wrong (gamma) even on this.

      Your PhD in nose picking (or whatever credentials you possess that make you feel superior to me) are of no help here.

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    9. Further, Ephraim, Slifkin is perfectly capable of protesting the label and defending himself. He has not. Your white-knighting for him is not admirable or praiseworthy in any way. Why do you insist on challenging me when he doesn't? Because of this:

      Gamma Forever – The general endless arguing without ever settling anything in order to frustrate as well as give the impression that the topic is too complex for normal people to care about or alternatively be able to follow. This activity can’t actually be helped by the gamma. They NEED to get the last word in no matter how obviously and thoroughly they have been shown to be wrong, liars and fakes, so that in their own minds (and nowhere else) they “won” and can continue being the secret king!

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    10. Ash, how do you know that Shimshon is a fan of Vox Day?

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    11. The word Ash used is "worship".

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    12. Slifkin - Shimshon regularly cites this bonkers (foul-mouthed) white/xtian nationalist Vox day and doesn't seem bakant in the ordinary Jewish literature (can't even cite the Rambam). I'm not sure you should keep allowing his comments through.

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    13. And "Shimshon" refers dismissively to "Talmudic talking points." Afra L'pumei. I don't know if he is conservative, Karaite, undercover missionary, or what have you, but he shouldn't be allowed to masquerade as a "champion of the mesorah" in an apparent attempt to make serious halachic Jews look silly.

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    14. Dave, that is certainly taking my use of the term out of context. I have said nothing different than others about what you do here discussing things that shouldn't be discussed and debating things that are pointless to debate. All I did was apply a use of a term to your discussions, which literally accomplish nothing, and are therefore simply regurgitating what you have learned, and nothing more. Kudos for that. Of course I am mocking you, and not our mesorah, chas v'shalom. Sophistry to claim otherwise.

      As far as Vox. I don't regularly cite him. I mentioned the term Gamma some time back, and someone (perhaps you?) knew of the term and its source, and of course pounced. I have ONLY cited him regarding the term, for those who want to know what it really means. And since you and others like to amuse themselves with smearing me at his expense, I explained some of the very valid reasons why I would pay attention to him versus other sources of information on current events, to the extent I pay attention to current events. Care to share your browsing history with me? Do you only pay attention to "ordinary Jewish literature"?

      I could of course cite the Rambam if I chose. What would that have accomplished but to demonstrate I know how to use Google? I didn't cite it because there was no need to.

      It looks like the fangs are bared and the real fascist you are is now revealed. On a site that is not yours, you have the temerity to demands to his opinions obeyed. Phrasing it the way you did is simple passive-aggressive plausible deniability. A more genteel version of "let's you and him fight." Uh, no. I would never cross the proprietor like that. There are clearly bounds of permissibility, and they should apply to all equally, fascist. Set your own rules on your own site.

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    15. Are we actually discussing a 1D hierarchy for pigeonholing something as complex as the human psyche using is such ill-informed nonsense that they didn't stick to the actual order of letters in the Greek alphabet?

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  7. Rational discussion is pointless because, for sociological and emotional reasons, nobody ever admits they are wrong.

    Anyone arguing with me on this is, ipso facto, wrong.

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  8. An enlightening analysis (that happens to agree with what you wrote) is provided by Rav Herschel Schachter: https://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/1021843/rabbi-hershel-schachter/abortion-in-halacha/

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  9. If you hold that Chazal can err in scientific matters, should anti-abortion positions not be consistent with your beliefs? Most contemporary opponents of abortion do so based off recent scientific findings, but you could also oppose abortion from a religious perspective consistent with your beliefs! In the past, you’ve especially noted areas regarding human life and modern medical science as places subject to change, regardless of prior halachic positions. If human life is at risk, why shouldn’t this issue be treated similarly?

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  10. Exactly as a I said before. Abortion is purely a totem of the left, such that PS felt compelled to say something about it, left all leftists. Now he's trying to retroactively bootstrap it into this blog's former topic of "rationalist Judaism", by noting (as again, I already said) that supporters of abortion of demand are also the same people who were in favor of forcing so-called "vaccines" on people. This is true, but again has nothing to with Judaism.

    Why don't you give it up, professor? Face it - this topic is politics, pure and simple, and consistent with your hard left turn. Be honest about it, instead of twisting around to somehow make it a Torah subject. You can't be ืžื˜ื”ืจ the ืฉืจืฅ that easy. If you're up for a challenge, you can instead try explaining away the gross hypocrisy of screaming "my body, my choice", while simultaneously supporting forced vaccinations. I've not seen a successful distinction yet, tho I've seen plenty of who've tried. Who knows, maybe you'll be the one? Put on your thinking cap and try!

    G Ps

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    1. Mr. or Ms. Unknown, I'd like to be able to respect your advocacy for a body of opinions you clearly feel so passionately about. Unfortunately, your comprehension of the issues involved is so superficial that you actually seem to believe that you've scored a major “Gotcha” by challenging Rabbi Doctor Slifkin to resolve what you deem an obvious case of “gross hypocrisy” in the liberal attitudes towards abortion and vaccination. But that is no challenge at all, since there is no contradiction or hypocrisy here except in the narrow minds of enemies of liberty and science.

      The woman exclaiming “my body, my choice” is quite reasonably relying on our concepts of liberty and self determination to say that no one has the right to force her to be pregnant, carry a baby to term, or become a parent. She is making a private decision in which the government or public at large have no proper role. Most crucially, she is making a decision about her own physical being and her own future. She will be the only one affected.

      Your setting up “forced vaccination” as the counter example is something of a “straw man” argument, since only about a dozen countries worldwide actually have such a COVID policy (https://www.statista.com/chart/25326/obligatory-vaccination-against-covid-19/), a list including none of the advanced democracies.

      But it’s true that most of the latter nations do vigorously encourage vaccination. Most people don't see this as contradicting the personal autonomy claim in the abortion debate because the situations are so different. In the vaccination realm, every denier and refuser endangers not only themselves and their closest friends and family, but also the whole world should they become the source of a dangerous new variant. That is exactly the opposite of the personal decision affecting no one else that a woman contemplating abortion must consider.

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    2. Everyone has their positions that are viewed as hypocritical. Some people view being anti-death penalty yet pro-abortion as nonsensical if the argument is "life at all costs." (and the reverse!) Some argue that being antiabortion but also anti-social programs to support unwed mothers or otherwise poor children is hypocritical. I would venture to say that the argument of having the Patriot Act as an invasion of privacy yet made to be OK for National Security makes it OK to insist on things like masking and social distancing for National Safety/Security (I'll stop before forced vaccinations there).

      But remember, schools have been requiring vaccinations for what -at least 50 years now? Public Health is a factor of National Security - as I said above - and yes, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the government can mandate things - barring actual medical contraindications - that promote public health.

      That ridiculous line about those who sacrifice freedom for security don't deserve either one has been thrown across the aisle in both directions. My feeling is that crying out for "my freedoms" while the society dies around you is pyrrhic to say the least.

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    3. Moshe - a lot of words, but not much "toichen". As PS said, people's opinions on Covid (including his own, obviously) align with their opinions on abortion. Meaning, those who support abortion on demand are the same ones who tried to force people to take vaccines. So I ask, and you didn't answer, because neither you nor anyone else can: What suddenly happened to "my body, my choice"???

      Gr. PS
      (I'm not unknown. My call sign - I'm in a Top Gun mood - just appears on the bottom)

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    4. "Meaning, those who support abortion on demand are the same ones who tried to force people to take vaccines."

      Untrue. (I'm assuming by "force" you mean encourage and place restrictions on those who don't vaccinate.)

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    5. Yes, Ephraim. A requirement to get vaccinated or lose your job is called "force". (Eye roll)

      GP

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  11. I haven't delved into this topic, but my initial and uneducated reading of the Rambam (ื”ืœื›ื•ืช ืจื•ืฆื— ื•ืฉืžื™ืจืช ื ืคืฉ ืคืจืง ื) doesn't leave me with the impression that his apparent position that the fetus is a life. He writes "ื•ืื ืžืฉื”ื•ืฆื™ื ืจืืฉื• ืื™ืŸ ื ื•ื’ืขื™ืŸ ื‘ื•, ืฉืื™ืŸ ื“ื•ื—ื™ืŸ ื ืคืฉ ืžืคื ื™ ื ืคืฉ". Does that not imply that prior to the baby's head sticking out Rambam doesn't consider it a ื ืคืฉ? (And as to "Rodef," he doesn't write ืจื•ื“ืฃ but ื›ืจื•ื“ืฃ.) Would be interested to hear why I'm wrong (or not)?

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    1. A fetus is a “potential Nefesh” according to all rishonim as is evident from the fact that one may desecrate Shabbos in order to save the life of a fetus (based on Arakhin 7b). The question is whether termination of a “potential Nefesh” falls under the prohibition of murder, in which case abortion would not be permitted absent the situation of Rodef.

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    2. Anonymous, Your questions on the wording of the Rambam, Hilchot rotzeach 1:9 are spot on and indicates that a more careful reading is required. My own reading is based on the preceding halachot (1:7,8) and the end of hilchot chovel umazik. Halacha 7 introduces the Rambam's reliance on Deut.25:11,12 to derive the law regarding the pursuer (rodef). Halacha 8 elaborates. There are 2 aspects to the law, one involves the need for effective action to preserve a person's life, the other is the separate prohibition in allowing mercy to temper or avoid the interference. Rambam invokes the second aspect in the case of a floundering boat where the cargo needed to lighten the craft (and keep it from getting overtopped by waves) is considered like a rodef whose loss incurs no financial penalty. Here, even an immobile, dead object is subsumed under the prohibition of Deut.25:12, Rambam uses the same terminology in speaking of a fetus whose presence endangers the woman in Rotzeach 1:9. the Halacha cited about killing and removing the fetus is taken from the uncontested Mishna in Ohalot 7:6. The given rationale is that her life takes precedence over the fetus. However, once the head appears in the birth canal the disparity in life value ceases (independent life and personhood can now start). The language used by both the Mishna and Rambam is that one does not negate one person (nefesh) for the sake of another. The clear implication is that a fetus is not yet a nefesh. Rambam continues, and this process (with its serious consequences for the woman) is natural, I.e. the fetus is not pursuing her. Hence, the only reason for the mention of "like a rodef" is to invoke the prohibition of allowing mercy to interfere. the Gemara in Sanhedrin 72b makes this explicit by stating that the fetus being birthed is not a rodef.
      None of the above should be taken as a blanket justification for abortion since only cases involving a danger to the woman's life were being considered. However, the implication from the above is that abortion of a fetus in the womb is not murder regardless of motive (it may be immoral or illegal).
      Y.Aharon

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  12. No, of course it’s a dult. It means one step less than an adult, just like ashtei asar is one less than shtei asar. ;)

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  13. You really love to twist and manipulate and take separate commenters and conflate their comments.

    I was commenting on what Leah said, but I that doesn't mean I agreed with everything she said.

    I heard, decades ago, from my Litvak-Charedi rabbi, about the halacha's stance of abortion on goyim (forbidden in all cases, no pikuach nefesh exception) versus Jews (pikuach nefesh applies, etc). I only learned recently the Rambam's words on the subject, and how my rabbi essentially repeated his position. Every single thing I said was consistent with that.

    In your stupid rejoinder (ie this post, for those who need training wheels of the mind), these words do not appear at all: Non-Jew, goyim, gentile, making it look like I am a fool for saying things I did not say, and you then manipulate me into a proxy for the rabbis who you love to hate.

    In a post (ie the previous post that this post is in response to) about abortion in America and your thoughts on the historic overturning of bad case law Roe v. Wade, my comments were 100% accurate, and quite clear, always distinguishing between Jew and goy. In response, the snake Slifkin (dolt is too kind to you), offered a mealy-mouthed responsa permitting abortion to goyim on the same footing as Jews, and then weakly claimed, without backing, that other, numerous, and presumably more mainstream (than this yachid), rabbis, concurred with him and challenged the Rambam. I am still waiting for these citations that you claim bring the rabbinic position on abortion for goyim in line with abortion for Jews.

    At no point did I take a stance that the halachos of abortion vis a vis Jews is like that of goyim. For goyim, abortion is indeed, "murder, or tantamount to it," if there is no such thing as pikuach nefesh. That is exactly what I said, word twister. However, like all normal people, abortion is horrific, always, and the enthusiasm you and your ilk have for defending it is indeed sickening. To the point that you are incapable of nuanced thought. The wages of apikorsus.

    My comments, as well as those of others, are free to read in the previous post, unless Slifkin rises to a new low, and removes them.

    Your embrace of the death cult of abortion is self-evident. Why take the side of the fanatic baby killers and demand permissive laws on such for absurd hypothetical situations regarding Jews, especially in lands that are not ours?

    Do you care to address the actual argument and provide the evidence that goyim aren't so disadvantaged by the halacha on the subject? I suspect not. Straw men are more to your liking.

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    1. Classic gamma. You're wading into a discussion that is so far above your head you don't even realize how clueless you are. "I only learned recently the Rambam's words on the subject." Do you realize how elementary that is to the conversation? Essentially, you are offering your opinions on Constitutional law a week after learning the English alphabet.

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    2. You don't even know what gamma means, retard. It's a label, not an insult. What is classic about what I did?

      As to the halacha, it's so elementary that I had to be the one to raise it, and immediately after acknowledging its existence, grudgingly, since it throws a wrench in his argument, Slifkin claims to know of responsas that address and challenge it, but then decline to provide such.

      And, idiot, I knew the halacha as stated by the Rambam, but I didn't know that he was the source for it. As of the last year, I know. So? What's the point? Had I said that I heard the halacha from my rabbi and left the Rambam out of it, how would it have changed my statement in any way? It would still have been true, and remains as of yet unchallenged. But in that case, you would have mocked me for not knowing the source. Now you mock for not knowing the source...longer? I can't even understand the logic.

      What is your point, other than to denigrate and disqualify?

      Delete
    3. Your responses are textbook gamma. Where did I say it was an insult? (Btw is "retard" an insult or merely a label as well?)

      In any event, when an unlearned person "hears from their rabbi" xyz in shul or at the daf, but knows nothing of the underlying sugya, the Gemara, other Rishonim, ramifications, Acharonim's discussions and how they fit together - and just found out it's a Rambam! - it's pathetic (and frankly a bit gamma-ish) to think he has any clue what he is talking about. Did you even look at the mafte'ach for half a minute?

      Delete
    4. Calling someone a retard isn’t the way a Ben Torah speaks.

      Delete
    5. Dave likes to resort to nicknames. Besides forbidden, is also childish. Calling him a retard, while perhaps risible because of the history of the word, is an accurate description of his state. It's an observation, not a judgement.

      Delete
    6. Every insult you lob is merely an "observation" while anything said to you is a despicable, verbal assault. Classic gamma snowflake.

      Delete
    7. Dave, why the disparaging nickname of Shimshi? That is an unwanted verbal assault. My name is Shimshon, and not anything else. Not everything said to me is abusive. That, specifically, is. Our mesorah does not have kind words to say about people who do what you do. Unwanted nicknames bring harsh condemnation on those who use them. Do you care to stop? The sole purpose is to denigrate. And it is observably childish behavior.

      Further, even when making statements clean of the harsh rhetoric that seems to bother you, but which you yourself do not refrain from, you still lob insults my way.

      Like I said, you don't even know what gamma means. Keep the meaningless insults coming.

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    8. Dave, how would understanding "how they fit together" change anything? It wouldn't. All those sources, to my understanding, speak more to the subject of abortion vis a vis Jews, which makes sense. At least Slifkin had the decency to admit I contributed something meaningful to the discussion, even as he promptly ignored it, while claiming knowledge of sources that address it. You can't even do that much. It's argumentum ad credentialism and the Genetic Fallacy writ large. Do you even know what that is? You resort to it constantly, particularly now.

      I am well aware that the halachic stance on abortion regarding Jews is fairly nuanced. I never made that part of my contribution at all. What could I add? Why would I add? Yet you, and most everyone else, treated what I said as referring to Jews, not goyim, even now. Are you willfully stupid or illiterate?

      I don't comment when I have no knowledge of a subject. Slifkin mentioned brain death and his complaints, and that is something on which I have nothing to add. Other posts are of zero interest to me. Abortion, well, I have a little to say on a narrow perspective that was 100% germane to the prior post.

      You are just an arrogant jerk who calls people unwanted nicknames and insults and denigrates constantly. Why should I not address your childishness in an appropriate way?

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    9. "You don't even know what gamma means, retard."

      You don't even know what retard means, gamma.

      Just kidding, you're not a gamma. Gamma is a form of radiation arising from atomic decay. It is sometimes confused with radiation arising from intellectual decay which is properly known as hot air.
      In rabbinic literature, gamma refers to the shape of two lines meeting at a right angle. It is sometimes confused with the obtuse.
      In summary, only someone confused would refer to you as a gamma. ื•ื“ื™ ืœื—ื›ื™ืžื ื‘ืจืžื™ื–ื

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    10. @happyetc...
      Those are not objective definitions of human personal life, they are just technicalities of biological life.
      The fact that you can't see the difference between a fetus and an infant didn't stop most poskim and civil international law, from saying that a fetus is not a person: ''All human beings ARE BORN free and equal in dignity and rights'' (UDHR,1).
      One of the rational things which seem to elude you, since you're now too rationalist for Rashi, is that any fetus is not living independently from its mother, to make it a separate person (and that's also the reasoning of the yesh omrim quoted by Ramban in Toras Haadam).
      Of course it doesn't mean fetuses can't or shouldn't be protected in some ways, or that I'm necessarily advocating the abortion of 8 1/2 fetuses like I've been accused on this blog, but it does mean that if the US constitution might allow states to make it completely illegal, then it's not up to task to protect its citizens (which is not a big surprise).

      @Dave
      The halachos of Keli Rishon or Tata'a Gavar are less irrational than is widely believed. I don't intend to open the debate here, but maybe just an example, to give food for though:
      by necessity Tata'a Gavar is only used when, as for when the question arises, the cold item still is (or is again) cold.

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    11. Shimshon claimed that abortion for non-jews it is forbidden without exception. Firstly, what about the famous Tosafos in Sanhedrin? Secondly, did you look at the mafteach on the Rambam you are citing? How things fit together is very relevant. For example, if Tos in niddah says mutar, that would have ramifications for our expected extrapolation of the issur for non Jews (also Tos. in Sanhedrin). A sugya is not a stray mareh makom here or there (preferably well understood and not simply heard in shul) but sources coming together into a full picture. It's very clear that simply hearing a Rambam quoted gives you very little insight into the question. But your dismissive self-important posts (riddled with insults barely cloaked as "neutral observations") give the impression that you have no clue what you don't know.

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    12. Sorry, commented on the wrong thread
      @happyetc...
      Those are not objective definitions of human personal life, they are just technicalities of biological life.
      The fact that you can't see the difference between a fetus and an infant didn't stop most poskim and civil international law, from saying that a fetus is not a person: ''All human beings ARE BORN free and equal in dignity and rights'' (UDHR,1).
      One of the rational things which seem to elude you, since you're now too rationalist for Rashi, is that any fetus is not living independently from its mother, to make it a separate person (and that's also the reasoning of the yesh omrim quoted by Ramban in Toras Haadam).
      Of course it doesn't mean fetuses can't or shouldn't be protected in some ways, or that I'm necessarily advocating the abortion of 8 1/2 fetuses like I've been accused on this blog, but it does mean that if the US constitution might allow states to make it completely illegal, then it's not up to task to protect its citizens (which is not a big surprise).

      @Dave
      The halachos of Keli Rishon or Tata'a Gavar are less irrational than is widely believed. I don't intend to open the debate here, but maybe just an example, to give food for though:
      by necessity Tata'a Gavar is only used when, as for when the question arises, the cold item still is (or is again) cold.

      Delete
    13. “abortion is horrific, always”

      Sometimes it is a mitzvah, a chiyuv. You are calling one of HaShem’s commandments “horrific”?

      “fanatic baby killers”

      Fetuses aren’t babies. If you were doing daf yomi you would have learned that in the current tractate.


      “absurd hypothetical situations regarding Jews”

      Not hypothetical. Pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother are far more common than people realize. Recent studies have found that 1% to 2% of pregnancies result in ectopic pregnancies. And later term pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother happen too – my wife has had one such case in her medical career. But I work for a Jewish health system where we perform even third trimester abortions in such circumstances. So they aren’t hypothetical at all; you would sacrifice the lives of Jewish women in order to promote your Roman Catholic theology.

      Delete
    14. Dave here is a more substantial response.

      "Firstly, what about the famous Tosafos in Sanhedrin?"

      Does the Tosafos address the Rambam?

      Does the Rambam address the Tosafos?

      Does anyone else analyze both to resolve them?

      "Secondly, did you look at the mafteach on the Rambam you are citing?"

      No. And not now either. Perhaps this is what Slifkin had in mind in his flippant response claiming there were those who challenged the Rambam, while declining to mention them. Also, its existence, like that of the Tosofos everyone here loves to use to support abortion for goyim, doesn't make it normative halacha. It could be. But I have not been convinced that it is. All I see here is a lot of debating, about things like when life is defined to start etc, with questionable intent.

      Charlie, my wife was one such case. We were in Israel, and ended up in America before during and after her last pregnancy. Had we been in Israel, the doctors would have told us "abort, this is a case of pikuach nefesh" and the doctors in America said no.

      You know what? Technically, the doctors in Israel were right, as they informed us after the fact. Hashem had something else in min. 22 years later, my wife is still here and healthy and so is our adult son, who is the type of soul that they actually do say about him, even to me personally, "praiseworthy are the parents who bore him." So blessed are we.

      Are all cases of pregnancy and problems, even serious problems, actual, genuine pikuach nefesh? Certainly not. Some are certainly debatable, even if we are to err on the side of caution. The theoretical isn't the practical. Mistakes are made. Most times perhaps for the good.

      So, I personally think this cavalier attitude shared by you and your ilk is sickening, even when abortion is called for.

      I promoted that goyim adhere to the halacha for goyim. You choose to conflate that with promotion of false ideologies. Who conflates? Do I need to apply the label you so deserve? Your specious statement is also inaccurate and irrelevant, as I also pointed out that the vast majority of Jews live in states where elective abortion will continue to remain legal. Which makes the posturing here even more pointless.

      You (the broad you) object even to the rhetorical use of the word "murder" to describe elective abortion, constantly using Talmudic talking points to prove otherwise. The rhetorical isn't the dialectical. Most people would consider elective abortion murder, no matter how tone deaf your response protesting the use of the word.

      You can't even refrain from twisting my words through selective quoting. The full context of "fanatic baby killers" is: "Why take the side of the fanatic baby killers and demand permissive laws on such for absurd hypothetical situations regarding Jews, especially in lands that are not ours?"

      These "fanatic baby killers" exist, jerk. Quoting the Talmud doesn't change that. Technically, Lena Dunham isn't a "baby killer," but she says "she wishes she had an abortion." That makes her a fanatic about abortion, and someone who wishes she were a baby killer. There are many like her, including those who have actually had it done.

      Rabbis, noteworthy rabbis, use similar terms regarding abortion. Care for a recent example?

      Delete
    15. Not one indication this guy reads Rabbinic literature half as well or as often as Vox day. On a frum website. Fie and shame.

      Delete
  14. as a rationalist jew, wouldn't it make sense to say that the early rabbis made a scientific error because of their lack of modern technology and findings, and since now we know that a fetus has life much earlier than the ancients ruled, and with the modern science and knowledge we have today should rather make these kinds of termination of pregnancy forbidden today even though the early rabbis mistakenly permitted it (due to their lack of scientific evidence not available in their times)?

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    Replies
    1. No, because the Torah itself doesn't appear to treat causing a miscarriage the same way it would treat a homicide. Also, if I understand his position correctly (he can correct me if I'm wrong) Rabbi Sliflkin holds that once a psak halacha becomes part of our mesorah it remains halacha even if it may have been based on a scientific error.

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    2. First of all, modern science does not claim to have had any advancement towards a material definition to the beginning of human life proper, because this is not in essence a scientific but a philosophical question. So all of you who claim science has made ''new findings'' about this, are very mistaken.
      To the opposite, in medieval times it was widely believed that fetuses are like very small human beings, which did not refrain Rashi and most rishonim from stating that they don't have human rights.
      And here the source for it not being murder is a verse in the Torah, while the source for those who believe it should be forbidden in all cases for gentiles, is 'only' a drasha of chazal.
      So, no, the early rabbis did not 'err because of their lack of modern technology and findings' on this case, they upheld the actual stance of Torah in spite of their bias.

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    3. Jew Well, modern science claims to know when the heart develops, and when the heartbeat starts. It claims to know when the brain develops. It claims to be able to measure brain activity of the baby in the womb.

      There is nothing rational, and everything irrational about the arbitrary cutoff point of deciding the baby is only a person when it exits the womb. This irrational position can only be justified from a dogmatic religious perspective. A perspective that is rejected by the "rationalists" everywhere else. With regard to brain death, Rabbi Slifkin is perfectly content to throw out the basic halacha of the Gemara and Rishonim, because of his ASSUMPTION that this halacha was based on their mistaken science about what is considered "life".

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    4. I never said that Chazal or the Rishonim were wrong about brain death. I said that they never addressed it.

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    5. They didn't address killing people with a gun either. Where did your "intellectual honesty" go now? The halacha, as stated by the Gemara, is that human life is determined by breath. You said that was because they were ignorant of science. Therefore, you were, and still are, willing to throw out that halacha.

      Just admit it, and admit that it is your secular values rather than the halacha informing you differently in the case of abortion. Why is it so hard to admit?

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    6. Plini, good comment, except that the rabbis of old did NOT permit it, don't fall for PS's spin. But on the general observation you are correct: the notion of "they made a mistake", like its cousin ื ืฉืชื ื” ื”ื˜ื‘ืข, is selectively applied, depending upon one's political point of view. And that is true not just of leftwing liberals like the professor, but also of rabbis of the right.

      Gershon Pickles

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    7. Happy,
      What are you talking about? It's not "rational" to follow the halachos of kli rishon, tata gavar, v'od. Even Slifkin agrees we follow them anyway (al pi the Dor Revi'i etc.).

      And by the way, when do YOU think it's "rational" to decide the baby has a life?

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    8. The Gemara says that if you find a person under a collapsed building who is not breathing, we presume that he is dead. That has nothing to do with brain death; it's because, back then, if someone was not breathing, it meant that they were either already dead or about to be. (Of course, now that we know about CPR, even YOU would disagree with the Gemara's ruling.)

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    9. Dave, he agrees very selectively. He is willing to kill brain-dead people based on the consideration that Chazal's halacha was WRONG. He will tolerate homosexuality as long as it is mentally and physically healthy. He holds that a completely secular person who contributes to the economy is better than an unemployed observant person in kollel. All very rational, but non-halachic positions. On the other hand, he calls people who are not careful about COVID "murderers". You can see the amazing consistency here.

      As far as what is rational for a baby, it is certainly not the completely arbitrary cutoff point of exiting the womb.

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    10. Happy, you are free to disagree with me here as much as you wish. But if you persist in misrepresenting my positions, I will have to block you.

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    11. Rabbi Slifkin, very well, I will not bring up your views on homosexuality any more if you wish.

      But you are not being honest in your presentation of your 20+ posts and hundreds of comments on the subject of brain death. Your reasoning was not that the Gemara was right for its times and medical technology has changed that, but rather that the Gemara had the WRONG definition of life, and paskened the halacha WRONGLY, for the WRONG reasons. Do I really have to quote chapter and verse?

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    12. Who is meikil all the way until the baby exits the womb?
      RHS sounds like he'll be meikil only until the beginning of the 9th month. Is that not "rational?" Anyway, I don't see how you can decide "rationally" or "scientifically" when a person becomes a person rather than just a clump of cell. That seems very much a philosophical/religious question.

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    13. Can I get banned again for <> please?

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    14. R Slifkin - Given your opinion of the brain as the determinant of life/death, I'm very curious to hear you explain why a 5 week old is not a fully fledged human being, considering that is when its brain begins to form. Especially since one of your primary reasons for rejecting breath as the determinant of life/death is that, unlike the brain, the breath can be restarted. A fetus may not be have its brain "restarting," but it is having its brain "forming," and it continues to do just that for a couple of decades.

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    15. "Do I really have to quote chapter and verse?" Yes, you do.

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    16. "I'm very curious to hear you explain why a 5 week old is not a fully fledged human being, considering that is when its brain begins to form." You answered it yourself. That is when its brain *begins* to form.

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    17. "Happy, you are free to disagree with me here as much as you wish. But if you persist in misrepresenting my positions, I will have to block you."

      This is an amusing stance to take, given how you egregiously misrepresented what I said.

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    18. "You answered it yourself. That is when its brain *begins* to form."

      1. And like I said, it continues to form for the next several decades, so one can aptly say it "begins to form" for the next few years. Since you are presumably against infanticide, "beginning to form" is far too vague a status to conclude that we should be distraught over laws that prevent feticide.

      2. Even if you've somehow figured out when a brain is formed enough to establish its human worth, we know, with a likelihood far stronger than the resuscitation of one who stops breathing, that the brain will continue to form into whatever arbitrary formation you have decided is sufficient to constitute personhood. Can you explain why something with a *higher* likelihood of eventually meeting your criteria of personhood is *excluded* from your definition of personhood, and something with a *lower* likelihood of eventually meeting your criteria of personhood is *included* in your definition personhood?

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    19. happygoluckypersonage@gmail.comJuly 3, 2022 at 5:13 AM

      Dave, a baby with a brain and a heart, with awareness, that can feel pain as he is being vivisected in the most gruesome manner - you justify that by saying "he is not a person, just a lump of cells". And I agree, from a dogmatic religious perspective perhaps you are right, in the womb is not a ื ืคืฉ.

      But from a rational perspective, the difference between in the womb and out is completely arbitrary. It is no more of a justification than justifying the murder of a black person "because he is not human".

      Now, if you want to allow abortions before the third trimester based on rational scientific considerations like brain development, that's something else, and has nothing to do with the dogmatic religious consideration that is the (disputed) halacha.

      Rabbi Slifkin, I will IYH quote chapter and verse tomorrow, despite my very low confidence that you will respond.

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    20. Happy
      you are simply arguing that if science says definitively that there is NO significant development after a certain point then the fetus is a baby. Firstly, I have no idea at what point that is reached. Secondly, I would be very skeptical of any claims of modern science to know definitively that there is no significant development after that point (at least not until VERY late in the pregnancy). Furthermore, Jew well above argues that "personhood" (soul? or is that too irrational?) could be dependent on more than just having the cells and function of a human - I hear the sevara but I'm not sure.

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    21. MK - a child's brain is not "beginning to form." It is continuing to develop.

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    22. "A child's brain is not "beginning to form." It is continuing to develop."

      All you did was substitute the word "form" for the synonym "develop." You can just as correctly say a fetal brain is "beginning to develop." How about this: can you give me an actual definition for when the brain is considered developed/formed enough to constitute human worth? You do, after all, maintain that the brain is the determinant of life, and since brain development/formation occurs in the womb, this is a rather important question for you to answer if you're going to bemoan the overturning of pro-abortion laws.

      But I was hoping you would respond to my second question. If it can't be answered, then any discussion on *when* a fetus suddenly becomes human is irrelevant, because we know with a strong likelihood that it *will* reach that point eventually. Indeed, we know it with a stronger likelihood than the resuscitation of one who stops breathing, for which you have disputed the rabbinic tradition. So again I ask, can you explain why someone with a *higher* likelihood of eventually meeting your criteria of personhood is *excluded* from your definition of personhood, and someone with a *lower* likelihood of eventually meeting your criteria of personhood is *included* in your definition of personhood?
      .

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    23. The point wasn't just the words form or develop; it was beginning vs. continue.
      "How about this: can you give me an actual definition for when the brain is considered developed/formed enough to constitute human worth?" No, of course not. Because there is no single point at which there is a transition from no brain to full brain. Rather, there is a gradual process. Which means that as the pregnancy continues, abortion becomes gradually more serious.

      "the resuscitation of one who stops breathing, for which you have disputed the rabbinic tradition" Again: I have not disputed any rabbinic tradition here. And I'm pretty sure that you would try to resuscitate someone who has stopped breathing.

      " why someone with a *higher* likelihood of eventually meeting your criteria of personhood is *excluded* from your definition of personhood, and someone with a *lower* likelihood of eventually meeting your criteria of personhood is *included* in your definition of personhood?"
      Because another important aspect is what they are now, not what they would be in the future.

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    24. "why a 5 week old is not a fully fledged human being"

      Anyone learning daf yomi you would know the answer; we learned it in the current tractate.

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    25. I'm sorry but it was AGAIN the wrong thread
      @happyetc...
      Those are not objective definitions of human personal life, they are just technicalities of biological life.
      The fact that you can't see the difference between a fetus and an infant didn't stop most poskim and civil international law, from saying that a fetus is not a person: ''All human beings ARE BORN free and equal in dignity and rights'' (UDHR,1).
      One of the rational things which seem to elude you, since you're now too rationalist for Rashi, is that any fetus is not living independently from its mother, to make it a separate person (and that's also the reasoning of the yesh omrim quoted by Ramban in Toras Haadam).
      Of course it doesn't mean fetuses can't or shouldn't be protected in some ways, or that I'm necessarily advocating the abortion of 8 1/2 fetuses like I've been accused on this blog, but it does mean that if the US constitution might allow states to make it completely illegal, then it's not up to task to protect its citizens (which is not a big surprise).

      Delete
    26. happygoluckypersonage@gmail.comJuly 3, 2022 at 4:50 PM

      Dave, you misunderstood my argument. Even if there is "significant development" after point X, that is not at all a rational reason to dehumanize a person. There is plenty of "significant development" after a child is born as well!

      Rather, my argument was that if baby John/Shmuli looks like a baby person, there is no rational basis for murdering him just because he is in a womb. The fact that he is dependent on the mother is not a rational reason, unless you are willing to allow the killing of all human beings who rely on other people, including all infants, almost all children, people on respirators, etc.

      Again I reiterate, there is nothing rational about allowing the murder of somebody because you decided on a totally arbitrary basis that "he's not a person". Any more than allowing the murder of anybody who lives in Seattle, or comes from Africa, or wears yellow hats "because they are not people".

      Jew Well, the above is a response to you as well. Your appeal to other people who agree with you is not an argument at all, certainly not a rational one. Your appeal to Rashi is simple religious dogmatism which only works if you are a religious dogmatist. There is nothing rational about arbitrarily deciding a person is not a person just because he is in a womb.

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    27. Happy,
      I don't think I misunderstood. You are assuming that there's a point in the womb when a fetus "becomes a person." I have no idea when that would be. I assume we can agree that a three week fetus is not *necessarily* a person. Probably later as well. One could say when 1. the heart begins to beat, or 2. when it feels pain, or 3. when has all of its organs, or 4. when it begins to look like a person, or 5. when it is safek viable with extreme intervention, or 6. when it is viable without intervention, or 7. when it is as *fully* developed as a person would be outside the womb. I do not see any compelling "rational" means of deciding at which of these listed stages (or many more unlisted) the fetus becomes a person. If you have some overwhelming sevara to pick one of these stages (or another I haven't listed) please share it.

      Delete
    28. Wow, for circular thinking you're one of a kind!
      No, of course, if your starting postulate is that a fetus is a person, then it can't be rationally argued that it's not a person. QED.
      I hope you at least extend this generous definition of 'somebody' to non-human animals, since according to your reasoning there is nothing rational, except from 'religious dogmatism', to exclude them.
      What I was saying is that it's a philosophical question that science can't help us solving, only philosophical stances. The fact that such 'religious dogmatists' as the french 'Assemblรฉe Constituante' of 1879, who wrote that text, agree with me, shows there is nothing religious about this.
      And since it seems one needs to be very wordy with you, I'll add the whole juridic reasoning:
      Given that a fetus has no independent life, giving him personal rights equates forcing on its mother the legal obligation to carry him. Since this type of obligation can never be put on anyone else, it would follows that women are not 'free and equal in rights as the rest of the population', because their body would thus legally be subjected to 'someone' 'else' without contract.
      And no, children and elderly are not the same, because society takes care of them if their parents can't, so they are in some way willingly taking care of them.
      That's why, without solving the philosophical problem of human life, and without even mentioning the public health issue which you people love to dismiss, basic human rights cannot includ fetuses as persons, only as legal objects.
      I don't even know why I bother, you're likely going to serve me the same nonsense again.

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    29. Dave, since you don't know when this thing that looks, acts and feels like a baby is a person, the burden of proof is on you to show it is not before murdering it.

      Jew Well, I already knew you can come up with arbitrary self serving justifications to kill people. That is easy for anybody. Depends on mother no different than depends on society.

      Delete
    30. Happygoluckypersonage@gmail.comJuly 4, 2022 at 1:58 AM

      Also Jew Well, your appeal to the French Assembly is meaningless, saying "somebody else agrees with me" is no argument at all, certainly not a rational one, and certainly not a basis to dehumanize and murder.

      However, you did make one good point about animals. And I tend to agree, from a rational perspective which does not admit to the existence of supernatural mystical souls, there is very little justification for murdering animals over people. Dawkins argues this convincingly.

      All of which serves to highlight the irreconcilable differences between "rationalism" and Judaism. And as we can see, the so-called "rationalists" treat rationalist and dogmatic religious arguments as a sort of buffet which they pick and choose according to their self serving convenience, usually whichever agrees with dominant secular liberal viewpoint. Want to kill brain dead people - use science. Want to kill unborn babies - use Rashi.

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    31. What was I saying?
      I give up, there is no point.
      Also, it's frustrating talking to people who don't even know what they're throwing their two cents on.
      Maybe just two last things for people who might think he added something to his nonsense:
      Society is also not a person, it's a legal fiction whose goal it precisely is to take care of its constituents. Therefore it's not protected by any human rights.
      When discussing civil rights, what makes sense are civil legal arguments. When discussing halakha, what makes sense are halakhic arguments.
      Also, there is no need for Rashi here, as the basic law is a verse.

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    32. Jew Well, your contention that Person A has a "right" to murder Person B who is inconveniencing or troubling her has no basis in rationality and certainly not halacha. Especially when as in the vast majority of cases, Person A invited Person B into her house. But it shows, as I said above, how freely you will switch between inconsistent arguments in order to justify killing.

      But if we would go with your contention , the same idea applies when the child is born. Mother can't just pass that burden onto "society" without inconvenience, physical burden, financial burden, etc. And the same is with the father who is now expected to support the child. By your cruel, heartless, immoral reasoning, they should be allowed to just kill the little tyrant who is depriving them of their "rights".

      Your appeal to civil law is irrelevant, they could make a law that people of a certain skin color could be shot on sight and you would likewise approve of it, since it is the law. We are not discussing what the law is, but what it ought to be.

      But even if we were discussing what the law is, you should have no problem with the laws of Mississippi, Texas, etc, that do not allow the mother free license to murder her baby, since it is the law.

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    33. 'Also, it's frustrating talking to people who don't even know what they're throwing their two cents on.'
      QED

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    34. Sorry, Jew Well, I know it's hard for you to take such an irrational position, justifying murder is not easy, but saying QED is not an argument! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    35. I will stil answer the last point, since it's true you didn't come up with it until now, even though the answer does lie in my previous posts (but obviously you're not really following the argument, which shows the ridicule of your accusations of inconsistency. You don't even know what you're debating).

      Democratically, a country, state, etc... can make the laws it wishes, yes. But not 'make a law that people of a certain skin color could be shot on sight'.
      Why is that? Because there always is a primal law, which in most countries is called a constitution, and whose purpose it is precisely to limit the boundaries of the democratic process.
      The reason, in Benjamin Constant's words:
      'The assent of the majority is by no means sufficient in all cases to legitimize its acts because there are some that nothing can sanction. When any authority commits such acts, it matters little from what source it says it emanates, it matters little whether it calls itself an individual or a nation, WOULD IT EVEN BE THE ENTIRE NATION APART THE CITIZEN IT OPPRESSES, IT WOULD NOT BE MORE LEGITIMATE.'
      Or, to give you a decent chance to understand, the decision of a cannibal majority to eat the minority, cannot be called 'democracy', it is the merely the tyranny of the majority.
      So one of any constitution's purposes is to decide which rights are not subjected to democratic lawmaking.
      The whole world, and especially the so-called 'free world', having in 1948 officially adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (yes, even the US), directly adapted from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789, it follows that those are the rights any good-to-its-name constitution should defend, and yours has recently been declared failing in this regard (not that it's doing a good job in many areas) by the Supreme Court, when Roe vs. Wade was overturned.

      OK, finally I'm feeling very charitable, I'll give you a thought experiment:
      Let's say you awake tomorrow in a hospital bed, and an impressive doctor tells you you've been transferred in urgency during the night to the hospital in order to save someone who absolutely needed to share your specific blood by transfusion during the next 9 months.
      What do you answer?
      Is it the same answer for 9 years? For 1 month? For 1 hour? For another action?

      Delete
    36. What I was saying in the last comment, is that you obviously have no clue what I (and therefore you) am talking about.

      Delete
    37. Jew Well thank you for finally using arguments. I understand that this is a subject that is close to your heart, perhaps you were born under the ืžื–ืœ ืžืื“ื™ื and have an extra ื ื˜ื™ื” for ืฉืคื™ื›ืช ื“ืžื™ื. Are you by any chance a shochet or a mohel? Perhaps you should consider it.

      Since you understand so well the idea of tyranny of the majority, why is it so hard for you to understand that this is exactly what is happening when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares the "right" of mothers to murder their babies?

      Your thought experiment would be more accurate and more close to the situation you are analogizing if I already voluntarily donated blood to this person and then decided I wanted it back, thereby killing him.

      A better analogy would be a mother who decides she doesn't want the responsibility of taking care of her child, and doesn't want the trouble and inconvenience of giving him up for adoption (by no means an easy or guaranteed process), and therefore exercises her "right" to rid herself of this trouble.

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    38. Sorry happy, but that was completely uncalled for and a gross thing to say. Would you say that the Maharit was bloodthirsty because he was lenient regarding abortions? The Chavos Yair? The Yaavetz? Probably the Ramban and his talmidim? The Tzitz Eliezer?
      You'll feebly respond that you're talking mitzad "rationality." But that's nonsense, since klapei shamaya, there is more than ample precedent in halachah for being meikil, so it's disgusting to imply that someone who thinks it isn't murder (as may well be the halachah!) is bloodthirsty.

      Delete
    39. Your silly attempt to make things personal is something in the middle between disturbing and revolting. I would say the same to all of your comparses (Shimshon, Gavriel M, Gershon Pickles,etc...) but I can't debate with all the insulting people on this blog at the same time, and I do have a history with you (also your way of doing it is more funny) ; that being said I think I already told you once you know nothing about me and therefore should keep it quiet.
      I certainly am doing it for you, when you accuse me of religious dogmatism I could easily retort that it's your position that happens to align with the catholic church, sharia and evangelicals, but I don't. Similarly when you're judging me 'cruel, heartless, immoral' I could talk about how you're not at all feeling any pity for the countless women who die each year from dangerous, illegal abortions in countries where your doctrine is upheld, and how they're used by people who profit of their needs. I could, but I don't.
      So no way I'll answer your silly questions. And the least you can do is do the same.

      Now it might look to you that I'm only now using arguments, but really I just added some of the things that you were supposed to understand by yourself. Sorry for thinking too highly of you.
      Now some other things it looks like I'll have to develop again:
      The UDHR does not 'give to mothers the right to murder their babies', it gives human rights to people who are born. For example, one of those rights is not to be murdered, another is not to be enslaved by other people. Yet a third is the right to privacy, especially on medical subjects. Therefore like I said, it doesn't make sense to include a fetus in this category of 'people', because that would make the mother its slave without consent. This is not tyranny of the majority, it is just the only way we can say that 'all people are free and equal', which is the basis of democracy.
      And therefore the fetus can only be a legal object.
      That's the whole point. Now it happens that legal objects can also have rights, so it is up to states, once aknowledged the right to abortion, to limit this right as they see fit. For example they could indeed say that if the baby was conceived through consensual intercourse, then there is some level of acceptation (I am personnaly not favourable to this but it does make sense in some ways; but I hate that I have to disclose my own inclination just to explain my arguments). They could put a limit in time to the possibility of abortion without medical reasons, and that's indeed the case in most countries that allow abortion. They could say that the interest of society to protect human life overcomes even the personal right of the mother as long as she was given time to abort before and didn't. They could decide many things, but not that the fetus has inherent right to live, for the reasons I already gave.

      'the trouble and inconvenience of giving him up for adoption (by no means an easy or guaranteed process)'
      In some european countries, most notably France, a woman can give birth to a child without recognizing it and without any traceability. The child is then taken care of by the state. I think this measure is better to reduce the number of abortions than any forceful legislation.

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    40. Dave, you are correct, that was uncalled for. For that I apologize to you, Jew Well. I try to refrain from personal attacks, but sometimes the heat of the debate gets the better of me. I'm sorry.

      However, the second half of your paragraph made me smile. "Klapei shamaya.." "Klapei shamaya" on a rationalist blog! No matter what the heart scans or brain scans say, no matter what this baby looks or feels like, the Chavos Yair and the Tzitz Eliezer say it is not a person! Nothing more to talk about! Brain scans, brain shmans, the Torah shafs the metzius! If Torah says it's not a person, it's not a person!! And when you look at it from that perspective, I agree that abortion is probably not murder (for a Jew, I understand for a gentile the situation is quite different, but correct me if I'm wrong).

      But your problem is, Dave, you're too big of tzadik for this blog. From a rationalist perspective, guess what? There ain't no "klapei shamaya". The Torah is a product of primitive humans with all their foibles, idiosyncrasies, and superstitions. These people didn't have brain scans or ultrasounds, they didn't have the scientific method, they didn't use empiricism. The Chavos Yair's primitive, unscientific opinion about what is a "person" ranks pretty low on the rationalist totem pole. The same way Chazal's opinion about what is "life" can be tossed in the rationalist wastebasket.

      All of this is from the Devil's perspective (by Devil I mean "rationalists"). However l'halacha I am inclined to agree with you.

      As for Jew Well, as I said above, I apologize for the personal attack. But perhaps I can say something like this instead: I understand that Jew Well is European, and Europeans have always taken a more cavalier attitude towards taking people's lives in a legal, medical setting (although America is MUCH more murderous in the illegal, non-medical setting). It has gotten to the point where euthanasia is practically the national sport (EUthanasia).

      Would it be too much to suggest that perhaps this European attitude has spilled over onto Jew Well's otherwise pristine soul? And therefore perhaps influences his opinion, however pacifistic he might otherwise be? And this would explain his appeals to the Assemblรฉe Constituante and Benjamin Constant to justify murder in the name of "rights" and "civil law" (realize that his argument has nothing to do with halacha, but "human rights"). I think it's understood that we are all influenced by our goyishe surrounding, myself included, and there's nothing wrong with admitting that.

      That said, I'm not sure the comments on a blog are a good place to have a serious discussion like this, especially one so fraught with emotion, and it lends to a contest of rhetorical tactics, including all too frequently personal attacks, rather than a quest for truth. And I am of course talking about myself as well. If you are interested, you are both welcome to email me (using an anonymous burner account) so we can continue privately. I have already done this with one person who frequents the blog, about something else, and BH we had a very productive exchange.

      Delete
    41. "I could talk about how you're not at all feeling any pity for the countless women who die each year from dangerous, illegal abortions in countries where your doctrine is upheld, and how they're used by people who profit of their needs."

      We lack pity how? Because we are horrified by abortion? And you have pity for these people because you believe they should have more access to the same, and because you meaninglessly agitate for it? A disgusting display of fake compassion.

      1. The proper Jewish response to actual compassion is tefilla. Your posturing, pontificating, and bloviating are a serious waste of time if your goal is to accomplish something for these people you claim to feel pity for. Why don't you shut your mouth and open your heart?

      2. If there is suffering in the world, it is normative Jewish belief that it comes to the world because of our sins. You want to make a difference? Take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself, "What can I do today to improve myself?" I can tell you that the the first thing you should do is stop the pointless "debating" about abortion in particular.

      3. Of far more concern in these countries you fail to name is the lack of sufficient potable water, healthy food, and decent medical care. Lack of abortion, if it is a problem in these countries (really, it's only a problem in your mind because of your Western non-Jewish Christian thinking), is waaaaay down the list of things needing remedy.

      4. There are 80000 abortions annually in Israel. The vast majority done for economic reasons. Does this not horrify you? You could put your money where your mouth is, support fellow Jews at the same time, and donate to a worthy organization like Efrat that tries to help desperate pregnant women choose to carry to term.

      Of course, #1 and #2 are not rationalist at all. They are deeply mystical, but entirely normative Jewish positions. #3 is a proper rationalist perspective on the subject. #4 would be commendable in that you actually help fellow Jews, which would at the same time reduce suffering for us and for them. Care to change your stance?

      @happy, you are far too generous with these people. I should note that my way has probably accomplished more in a few days than years worth of words by you and others who predate my presence here.

      How so, you ask? Well, the fascist who goes by the name of Dave used to refer to me, with derision, as Shimshi. When I pointed out the calamity that awaits him for doing so, he didn't, like he has done to me on my contributions to the abortion "discussion," pompously demand a cite for a source he is certainly familiar with, nor did he mock me for not knowing "chapter and verse" of the cite. Instead, he simply ceased referring to me as such and now addresses me by my proper name.

      Dave, may this little bit of teshuva be just the start. I forgive you.

      My words are strong to match those of my opponents. That is all. I know there is no actual discussion going on here. So, there is no point to act conciliatory or try to reach out in a more gentle manner.

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    42. @happyetc…
      You know what? The reading of that comment by Shimshon makes me retract my words to you, you’re not just funnier, compared to such people you are actually a gentleman, and they are evidently not worth responding to at all.
      I indeed feel very conforted that you accord me a soul, and even a pristine one; especially since according to Gavriel M, his opposents, quote: ‘don’t care because ‘they’ don’t have a soul’. I was therefore in a quandary as if to say ืืœืงื™ ื ืฉืžื” or not. But thanks to you, I now know I can. Should I add that deniying souls to miscreants does not look like traditional jewish theology? Should I mention what theology it does derive from? Interesting questions…
      But no, my origins, my horoscope, my favourite colours, the lines on the palm of my hand, etc… are not receivable arguments. If what I say is wrong, you will have to prove it, and you’re not likely, especially seeing the way you eluded answering the thought experiment I offered you.
      You should especially remember that, here too, I could return the argument against you.
      I’m not discussing euthanasia with you, but abortion. Let’s do one thing at a time, can we?
      I mentioned the Assemblรฉe Constituante only because you were accusing the UDHR of ‘religious dogmatism’, so I mentioned who actually wrote that sentence first. I quoted Benjamin Constant because, to the best of my knowledge, he is the first to have theorized this. But the thought experiment is from the very american moral philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson, in her 1971 essay ‘A Defense of Abortion’.
      It's funny you should denounce my argument as having nothing to do with halacha, as you have expressely asked me not to resort to halachic reasoning. Not that it would change anything, because I never said the Constitution should adhere to halacha. I guess the quotation marks are a disparaging sign. It’s very sad that you should have such disdain for human rights.
      I see no reason to write to you personally, so I won’t. You’re free to answer here.

      Delete
    43. Jew Well, as I said above, I apologize for the personal attack. I usually try to refrain from such things.

      "Therefore like I said, it doesn't make sense to include a fetus in this category of 'people', because that would make the mother its slave without consent."

      Sorry, this makes no sense. A person is a person regardless of the inconvenient implications for other people. We don't (and shouldn't) dehumanize and murder children just because of the otherwise inconvenient implications for the mother and father.

      "This is not tyranny of the majority, it is just the only way we can say that 'all people are free and equal', which is the basis of democracy."

      Sorry, this also makes no sense. We have to dehumanize and murder some people in order to say "free and equal" about some other people. It's amazing to me that an otherwise intelligent person could think such a thing. How about we dehumanize the mother in order to say "free and equal" about the baby. Or better yet, how about we acknowledge that there is no perfect "free and equal", and try not to wantonly murder people.

      "I think this measure is better to reduce the number of abortions than any forceful legislation"

      I agree, and by the way, I very much admire the European welfare state and wish we could have that here, despite the impact on "freedom". However, we also need forceful legislation for both practical and moral reasons.




      Delete
    44. Actually "Shimshon" I've ceased talking to you at all. I think you are a m'galeh panim shelo k'halachah and therefore have nothing more to say to you.

      Delete
    45. @happyetc...
      Part one:
      Sigh. Back to square one once again, I guess.
      Let’s try the school lesson method, then:
      Science can't tell us who is a person and who isn't in a biological sense, because 'persons' are not a scientific biological taxon, but a philosophical and juridical abstraction.
      Therefore, you nor me can't decide who is a person and who isn't. We can only draw abstract boundaries, and there isn't going to be a general consensus.
      On the other hand, juridically, we do have to decide since when we can talk about murder. Murder is also a juridical abstraction, largely forbidden by human rights, but which does have some consensual exceptions, such as legitimate defence.
      But, of course, if we do not believe in human rights, murder is only what law arbitrarily declares to be so, and pro-choice and pro-life are merely two different approaches, justified by the simple fact they exist. Since you’re insisting on defending the right to life of fetuses, not demanding it, it means you do believe in human rights to some extent, even though you disparagingly dismiss those rights you don’t like.
      So, let’s delve into these: the basic and first law is that ’all human beings are born free and equal in rights’. Now it is true that perfect freedom and equality cannot be achieved, which is why you have these two limits: ’are born’, meaning some rights (but not all) can be later lost in exceptional events. ’in rights’ meaning it’s only on an abstract juridic level that they are required.
      You would rather have a something like: ‘all human rights are subjected to the right of human life not to be severed’, and you agree with me that it does mean all humans do not enjoy even equal juridic rights and freedom (tell me if I’m misrepresenting your position).
      The problem is this is precisely what we call textbook tyranny (this is what I meant with ‘basis of democracy’. Your counterargument is (I guess) that the gain overcomes the loss as long as it’s only the right to life that takes precedence. I don’t think so (for reasons it would be too long and tedious exposing here), but that’s admittedly not a very compelling argument.

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    46. @happyetc...
      Part two:
      So let’s see if what you’re saying stands scrutiny:
      Once lifted the circular reasoning you constantly go back to, your argument, really the pro-life argument, is as follows:
      1. A baby is, after all, a human life
      2. All human lives have a right to life (outside of those consensual exceptions).
      3. It follows that abortion equates murder, and should be juridically recognized as such.
      All pro-life activists share this argument, but they don’t always mean the same thing, but what’s really important is, can we take this to the extreme or not.
      Now it is indeed true that once you have acknowledged 1. And 2., there is no denying 3., so if mistake there is, it must be in either 1. or 2.
      Intuitively, most people would think that 1. is the weakest of the two postulates. That is for two reasons. The first is that no one intuitively wishes to reject 2. The second is that many ideologically believe it’s not enough (a point shared by mainstream halacha). However, even though 1. is indeed debatable, no one is going to convince anyone on this point, because, as I wrote, this is not a question on which we can give actual, rational proof either way.
      But when you really think of it, 2. is actually a very weak argument, and not only because pro-life ideologies usually happen to also defend death penalty. The thought experiment I proposed you shows that close to nobody actually believes parasitic human life has absolute right over autonomous human life (even though they might believe it for extremely benign annoyance, like for a few hours. In fact, what absolute pro-life defenders actually believe can be put in two broad categories, which can grossly be shortened in these two sentences:
      4. That only God decides of pregnancies, therefore halting them is a sin.
      5. That the mother is never really a victim.
      From a rationalist standpoint, those two options are both wrong, so no argument.
      Now some less radical pro-life movements do accept some exceptions, for example in case of a rape, especially in early pregnancy. But that’s already acknowledging the principle that parasitic human life does weigh less than autonomous human life. And if that’s so, it means the right to life does not, in fact, precede all other human rights.

      Delete
    47. Jew Well, you are free to conflate with me Gavriel, because that's what you do. We are of like mind on the subject of abortion, but I wouldn't say you don't have a soul. That's a rhetorical flourish too far, even for me. My comments to you prove that. If you have no soul, nothing I said makes sense.

      And nothing you said to Happy shows any real effort to consider what he said. You listened to him the same as you listened to me, which is not at all. You simply turned it all back on him, which is worse treatment than I got. Good luck Happy. Maybe a private conversation will prove a "very productive exchange". No offense, but I doubt these "productive exchanges" accomplish anything substantial. Perhaps reduce the heat, which is beneficial, but not substantial. But no move will be done towards a more Jewish outlook on this subject. Just endless back-and-forth.

      Dave, thank you for ignoring me from now on. That's quite considerate when taking into account the way you lied about and attacked me repeatedly, and even sought to cancel me, because of some imagined deep connection to a personality whose name was not even first mentioned here by me. You too can think what you want. What you think of me is of little importance either. At least the comments won't be polluted with further lies from you about me.

      I will still be happy to review your browsing history anytime, though, since you raised the subject. I think the comparison between mine and yours would be revealing.

      Delete
    48. That last sentence should read: 'the right to life does not, in fact, INCONDITIONALLY, precede all other human rights.

      Delete
    49. Jew Well, you have done a pretty good job of representing my argument. Your opposing argument is that there is a separate category called "parasitic human life" which you either A. think is not really a human life at all or B. agree it is a human life, but think it is justified to kill it to preserve the countervailing rights of the mother. From the rest of your comments, I think that you are more inclined to B. Is that correct? In either case it's obvious that A is incoherent from a rationalist, scientific perspective.

      However it's obvious to me that B is also incoherent from a rationalist perspective, because you have to invent a new, arbitrary category in order to justify your position. I asked you earlier about children and elderly, and you dismissed that by saying that society will take care of them (which by the way is not true for all societies, and even in many of those societies that will take care of them, there is still plenty of trouble and inconvenience for the mother/father to get society to actually take care of them). But even if that is true, they are still parasitic people who rely completely on others. And society, even if it doesn't have "rights", has plenty of needs and considerations that one could use to justify getting rid of certain kids or the elderly. So you will have to further narrow your category to "parasitic human lives in a very particular biological way". And all this is completely arbitrary. You are drawing a target around the arrow. And all of this justify killing people to satisfy the "rights" of the mother to not be inconvenienced or troubled. Why???

      Also this:

      "You would rather have a something like: ‘all human rights are subjected to the right of human life not to be severed’, and you agree with me that it does mean all humans do not enjoy even equal juridic rights and freedom (tell me if I’m misrepresenting your position)."

      Not sure what you mean by this. I think from a rationalist position, it is coherent to say that all humans enjoy equal juridic rights (to the extent that is feasible, as you acknowledge, nothing is perfect) while still maintaining abortion is murder.

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    50. I should note that my way has probably accomplished more in a few days than years worth of words by you and others who predate my presence here.

      Similar to Trump's accomplishments.

      Delete
    51. Really, is it so hard to understand? I'm not going back to square one once again.
      Your A is not in question. It is human, it lives, so it is human life. But that is not enough not from a halachic nor rational vewpoint to give it personhood. The discussion about my 1. is centered on this, but since it can't be proved either way, there is no point arguing about that, as I have been constantly writing on this thread.
      I'm not 'inventing a new, arbitrary category in order to justify my position'. I'm drawing conclusions from people's answer to the 'violonist' quandary (the thought experiment). You so far have been ืฉื•ืชืง ื›ื”ื•ื“ื” on the question.
      If society fails to care for its constituents, it is indeed failing. Your constitution has no monopoly of failure.
      What I mean by this is that when I showed you how it's impossible, your answer was not that it is possible, but that human life should still take precedence. You should re-read again, I wrote that all human persons enjoy perfectly equal juridic rights at birth, and all their life if they do not wilingly forfeit some of them (most notably the right to a nationality can later be forfeited in some countries if I'm not mistaken). The lack of perfection I willingly aknowledge is in everything else than juridic rights.

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    52. You are indeed inventing a new a arbitrary category. I already answered the violinist quandary a while back. I don't agree with "perfect" juridic rights, an impossible fantasy which in this case requires the arbitrary dehumanization of many people.

      There are many societies, including almost all societies in the past, where parents are expected to take care of their children, and there is no guarantee that society will. More commonly now, society will force the parents to take care of the child. Do you maintain it is against human rights to force parents to take care of their own child? In cases where society might not pick up the slack, is infanticide ok?

      However, I can agree on the following: at least in the case of rape, the mother has the right to demand an early C-section, at which point baby will be taken care of by society (if society is willing). As for earlier in the pregnancy when this is not possible, I already explained in discussion with Dave that there might be some biological/neurological/anatomical threshold where we can conclude on a rational basis that they bear no resemblance to people yet (although I don't know enough science to know this).

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    53. 'You are indeed inventing a new (a) arbitrary category.'
      I already answered that, and no.

      'I already answered the violinist quandary a while back.' No you didn't. But if you did, then do it again, just to see.

      'I don't agree with "perfect" juridic rights, an impossible fantasy'...
      It's not 'perfect juridic rights', whatever that's supposed to mean, it's 'perfect equality in juridic rights'. not a fantasy, it is simply the denial of tyranny.

      '...which in this case requires the arbitrary dehumanization of many people.' If you had understood what I'm killing myself explaining to you, you would at least have written: 'the (arbitrary) de-peopleisation (not an actual word, I know) of many humans'. But what am I expecting?

      'There are many societies, including almost all societies in the past, where parents are expected to take care of their children, and there is no guarantee that society will.'
      Indeed. So what?
      There are many societies, including almost all societies in the past, where jews are not protected by the same rights as other citizens.
      But the UDHR states, in articles 25-26:
      'Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
      Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
      Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
      Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
      Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.'

      'At least in the case of rape, the mother has the right to demand an early C-section, at which point baby will be taken care of by society (if society is willing)'.
      Society has to, but in a State which forbids any abortion, it will not be allowed.

      'There might be some biological/neurological/anatomical threshold where we can conclude on a rational basis that they bear no resemblance to people yet'.
      No they can't be, because a human life is a human life, remember? If that's the definition of personhood, then nothing else matters. So I'll repeat for the thousandth time: this question is not a scientific but a philosophic one.

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    54. I answered

      "Your thought experiment would be more accurate and more close to the situation you are analogizing if I already voluntarily donated blood to this person and then decided I wanted it back, thereby killing him."

      You said:

      "it's 'perfect equality in juridic rights'. not a fantasy, it is simply the denial of tyranny."

      And despite your repeating the same thing over and over again, I see no reason why not dehumanizing/depeoplizing and murdering certain people = tyranny. Actually, dehumanizing and murdering them = tyranny on a much greater level. There is no "perfect equality in juridic rights", it is a fantasy, and requires de-peoplizing many people in order to maintain the very weak illusion.

      " So what? There are many societies, including almost all societies in the past, where jews are not protected by the same rights as other citizens. But the UDHR states, in articles 25-26...."

      I asked you two simple questions, which unlike your thought experiment, are actually very realistic. Is it against human rights for societies to force parents to take care of their own children? I can guarantee you that many countries that are signatories to the UDHR, including France, do this.
      https://raydensolicitors.co.uk/blog/blog-10-french-child-maintenance-english-translated/
      I also asked, if a mother finds herself in a society that will not or cannot take care of her baby, can she abandon him to make life easier for herself? Is this her "right"? Or do all rights only apply when living in countries that have fully adopted and implemented the UDHR? Which makes no sense.

      "Society has to, but in a State which forbids any abortion, it will not be allowed."

      It's a price I'm willing to pay to prevent the dehumanization/depeoplization and murder of many more people. Besides, I don't know why you think an early C-section would not be allowed. Source?

      "No they can't be, because a human life is a human life, remember? If that's the definition of personhood, then nothing else matters. So I'll repeat for the thousandth time: this question is not a scientific but a philosophic one."

      It MIGHT depend on if it actually bears resemblance to a human, anatomically, neurologically. From a rationalist perspective, this is actually a scientific question. If by scientific standards, it is qualitatively the same as a human, no amount of navel-gazing (in the literal sense) philosophizing can justify murder. But this point is already included in our discussion about human rights.

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    55. Exactly, that is no answer at all, like I pointed out already. The question is clear, you're supposed to give an answer to it before discussing implications.
      But even then, your objection misses the spot, because as I answered you already:
      'Now it happens that legal objects can also have rights, so it is up to states, once aknowledged the right to abortion, to limit this right as they see fit. For example they could indeed say that if the baby was conceived through consensual intercourse, then there is some level of acceptation (I am personnaly not favourable to this but it does make sense in some ways; but I hate that I have to disclose my own inclination just to explain my arguments). They could put a limit in time to the possibility of abortion without medical reasons, and that's indeed the case in most countries that allow abortion. They could say that the interest of society to protect human life overcomes even the personal right of the mother as long as she was given time to abort before and didn't. They could decide many things, but not that the fetus has inherent right to live, for the reasons I already gave.'

      I am not giving you a school lesson on Rule of Law too. Just a citation from John Locke: '[The natural] state [is] also [one] of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.'
      (Remember 4.? That last comment is where it comes from. But like I said, 4. is a religious, not rational argument (and it can be argued against even on a religious basis).
      This particular principle is called isonomy, you can look it up.

      The answer to your first question is no, it is not illegal, because the absence of abortion, when it is available, unequivocally equates consent.
      However, you're mistaken about french family law (your guess is corect). Under it, parents can only be 'forced' to take care of their children if they not only did not abort them, but actually recognized them as such. This law is more ancient than legalization of abortion and has nothing to do with it. And even then, there are quite easy ways to legally part with parental responsibility, which I won't enumerate here.
      Do you really think it's better for a child to live with parents who don't want him?

      The anwer to the second question is that in a country where abortion rights are denied and society at large doesn't care for children, the parents (I don't know why you're only mentioning the mother), as part of society, are obligated to care for the child, even though it could be argued that they're not as individuals. But guess what? Such societies also happen (perchance, no doubt) to not enforce children rights very strictly.

      No source, I hope we never find out I was right.

      I am not a biologist, but surprise surprise, there happens to be one active on this blog. Ask him if 'bearing resemblance' is a scientific criterium.

      Delete
    56. "They could decide many things, but not that the fetus has inherent right to live, for the reasons I already gave"

      Your reasons of (imaginary) equality are completely insufficient to "depersonize" such people as exist in wombs, as I already pointed out. It doesn't matter that other people agree with you, even if they think they have philosophical justification, even if they codify it in law.

      "The answer to your first question is no, it is not illegal, because the absence of abortion, when it is available, unequivocally equates consent."

      Having relations, which is practically an open invitation for a person to enter into one's womb, likewise unequivocally equates consent.

      "Do you really think it's better for a child to live with parents who don't want him?"

      It's better for him not to die.

      "the parents (I don't know why you're only mentioning the mother), as part of society, are obligated to care for the child, even though it could be argued that they're not as individuals."

      Uh, ok. So mothers with children in their wombs, could, as part of society, be obligated to care for those children, even though it could be argued that they're not obligated as individuals. If that makes you happy.

      Delete
    57. So you still won't answer. Fascinating...

      'It doesn't matter that other people agree with you, even if they think they have philosophical justification, even if they codify it in law.'
      Of course not. The only thing that matters is your uneducated, circular reasoning. Obviously.

      'Having relations, which is practically an open invitation for a person to enter into one's womb, likewise unequivocally equates consent.'
      Tell me, at least you can read english, right? What on earth do you think I meant by 'For example they could indeed say that if the baby was conceived through consensual intercourse, then there is some level of acceptation'?
      Not unequivocally, though.

      'It's better for him not to die.' You know perfectly well that wasn't the question.

      'Uh, ok. So mothers with children in their wombs, could, as part of society, be obligated to care for those children, even though it could be argued that they're not obligated as individuals.'
      Wrong again. Society can't do it, only that particular person, so that collective owords bligation would be - guess what, it seems to be one of your favorite - an actual fantasy. Yes, exactly, that thought experiment you won't respond to. Would it be more fair to channel through you the alleged collective responsibility?
      Methinks I won't get any more answers to that.

      Delete
    58. I already answered the thought experiment, even though it's ridiculous. For your satisfaction I will explain further. You cannot shoot him in the head, or dismember him. At best disconnect him and let him die himself. That is in the kidnapping case. However, if you got yourself into the situation, you can't even do that.

      "The only thing that matters is your uneducated, circular reasoning. Obviously."

      And the only thing that matters to you is that other people agree with you. So what's the point of debating? I'll just go with the millions of people who agree with me. Let the mightiest win. Besides, it's your reasoning that's circular. "We must take away equal rights from the baby to give equal rights to the mother. Therefore baby not person."

      "Tell me, at least you can read english, right?.."

      Great, you agree. Yes, unequivocally. There is no conceivable, coherent reason why not, except self-serving, hedonistic ones (which I'm sure don't affect you personally, but this is the side you're taking).

      "You know perfectly well that wasn't the question."

      I'm not sure what the question was. You really think it's unreasonable for society to expect parents to take care of their own children?

      "Society can't do it, only that particular person, so that collective owords bligation would be - guess what, it seems to be one of your favorite - an actual fantasy."

      Again, just sophistry to justify murder. You agree that society can and does force certain members of society to do certain things. This includes societies that are signatories to UDHR. The "perfect" equality simply does not exist and cannot exist. The only way you can even pretend it exists in this case is by taking away the humanity of the child.

      Delete
    59. Part one:
      Very well, so your answer is you can disconnect him and deny him access to your body, even though that equates killing him.
      That happens to be exactly what abortion is. So it means you agree abortion is morally good in some cases. And that even though you arbitrarily decided a fetus is a person. So (if you're not embracing irrational 3. or 4.) how would you have it?
      Either you believe it is morally good to kill innocent people in that specific passive way (I'm sure you can figure out yourself the case where you're forced and the 'violonist' is still innocent). That's the conclusion of Mrs. Jarvis - Thomson, but it doesn't legally stand, for example because there is an obligation to save people from death.
      Or you change your mind and decide that parasitic human life does not inherently suffice for personhood.
      Either way, overturning Roe v. Wade was a wrong step, depriving actual people from their rights.

      Guess I will have to explain what a circular reasoning is too.
      A circular reasoning is when you want to prove B from A, but A needs B to be proven. Let's give a classic example: why cats eat mice? Because mice are food for cats. Why are mice food for cats? Because cats eat mice.
      But you, when you're saying that fetuses are persons, you have no other justification than, because you posit they are. So that means you don't even have A and B, only A, with whch you're justifying... A!. That's why I wrote to you 'Wow, for circular thinking you're one of a kind! No, of course, if your starting postulate is that a fetus is a person, then it can't be rationally argued that it's not a person. QED.'
      So now show me how my reasoning is also circular.

      'Great, you agree. Yes, unequivocally'. I agree it can be said, I don't agree it's a good idea. No, not unequivocally, because most intercourse, even unprotected, does not result in pregnancy. So it could be she didn't really want it. You, of course, would say it's always a possibility so she knows it can happen. And in the violonist case your answer would surely indeed be that you can't disconnect him. Let me just remind you we do not say that for ืคืกื™ืง ืจื™ืฉื™ื”. So, yes it can be said, no not unequivocally.

      'except self-serving, hedonistic ones'
      Well, since you mention that, a lot of women wil accept to do many things for persons who indeed manipulate them for self-serving, hedonistic reasons, but will go away once they become pregnant, leaving them in an horrendous situation. But if she decides to abort, who pro-life activists condemn?

      Delete
    60. Part two:
      'The only thing that matters to you is that other people agree with you'
      On philosophical questions such as this, the more educated people (meaning they actually understand what they're discussing, which is what you're starting to do) agree with a theory, the less it is debatable. And very few people say you can't disconnect the violonist.

      The question was, do you really believe society should force unwilling par ents to take care of their children instead of giving them ways to legally part with them and then find the children a better environment?
      The answer to your question is, it's not unreasonable, but it's not always (probably closer to always not) in the child's best interest.

      'Again, just sophistry to justify murder.' Not at all. In actual children cases, the parents can not be held sole accountables, while in your case nobody else than the mother could be held accountable, because no one can technically do what the mother must.

      'You agree that society can and does force certain members of society to do certain things.' Not against human rights. Hierarchy of norms.

      'The "perfect" equality simply does not exist and cannot exist.' Perfectly equality before the law only require a code that says so. For example, the first section of the XIVth amendment to the US constitution, states: 'All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; NOR DENY TO ANY PERSON WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS.
      It is not pretending, it has actual juridic consequences.

      'The only way you can even pretend it exists in this case is by taking away the humanity of the child'. I'm happy you're starting to change your wording, but no, there is no need to take it from him, as you yourself agree that some humans can be disconnected.

      Delete
    61. "That happens to be exactly what abortion is. "

      No, abortion is shooting him in the head. And abortion is usually in the unequivocal case where she knows very well she is inviting a human into her womb. If you did something similar with violinist, you could not disconnect him either. In either case I am revolted by Jarvis's use of these thought experiments as an excuse to justify murder.

      "Either way, overturning Roe v. Wade was a wrong step, depriving actual people from their rights."

      1. It was great, as it increased the rights of actual people to not be killed.
      2. I'm sure that even as a European, you can understand the technical legal arguments for why Roe was unconstitutional, even if you personally think there should be a right to abortion

      "But you, when you're saying that fetuses are persons, you have no other justification than, because you posit they are"

      But that's not circular reasoning. It's just stating a fact. It's like saying that somebody who claims Chinese persons are persons is guilty of circular reasoning.

      "most intercourse, even unprotected, does not result in pregnancy...So it could be she didn't really want it."

      So what? She knew very well this could easily be the result. If she had repeated intercourse, it will almost certainly result. If somebody goes through childbirth and then is surprised to find babies too hard, they could also say they didn't really want it. The father could also say he didn't really want it and not pay child support. And then to use that as excuse to kill...none of this is acceptable.

      "On philosophical questions such as this, the more educated people (meaning they actually understand what they're discussing, which is what you're starting to do) agree with a theory, the less it is debatable. "

      No, not at all. Not even the slightest bit. Educated people are just as capable of falling prey to their biases as anybody else. And in this case, educated people may be even more susceptible to this. I will accept arguments, even crazy thought experiments, but not "educated people are usually right".

      "Not against human rights. Hierarchy of norms."

      I think I know what you mean, but invite you to explain further before I retort.

      "Perfectly equality before the law only require a code that says so. "

      My code says so, and includes persons in wombs.

      " there is no need to take it from him, as you yourself agree that some humans can be disconnected."

      No, not in this case, not at all. On the contrary, you yourself agree that certain people should be forced to do certain things in certain cases, therefore you yourself agree with the anti-abortion argument.

      Delete
    62. ’No, abortion is shooting him in the head’. Don’t know where you’re taking your info from, but the quasi-totality of abortions are using methods which, pharmaceutical or chirurgical, consist in expelling the fetus whole, and none of the ones I know matches this fantasist description.

      That you feel strongly about the subject is evident from all your answers. It’s not, however, an argument.

      1. Not actual people.
      2. I don’t care for these subtleties. Bottom line, if your constitution can’t protect women rights, to me it’s only another of its numerous failings, which I remind you already were the cause of a bloody civil war, and of segregation.

      Someone claiming chinese persons are persons is just stating it, not trying to prove it. If he was trying to prove, for example, that chinese persons are indeed persons, he will have to show how they correspond to the definition of persons, (one of the things John Locke was trying to demonstrate in the citation above) and not just because he says so.

      I guess you will ask the same question on ื’ื“ืจื™ ืคืกื™ืง ืจื™ืฉื™ื•ืŸ.

      ’Educated people are just as capable of falling prey to their biases as anybody else’. True. But I least they know what they’re talking about. It seems I misused the english language, what I meant is that the more NUMEROUS are people who are educated (in this sense) and agree with the theory, the les it is debatable (by definition, since most relevant people actually agree). ร‰glise is not my first langage, I’m doing my best but my wording might sometimes be faulty.

      We already talked about the hierarchy of norms. It means there is ร  hierarchy in bodies of law. For example, in the US the constitution takes precedence to federal law, to state law, and so on. Human rights as defined by the UDHR, are supposed to be at the top of this hierarchy.

      No, your constitution doesn’t include equal rights for fetuses if that’s what you’re getting at, even without Roe v Wade. Would it be the case, abortion would now automatically be forbidden throughout the US.

      ’No, not in this case, not at all.’ Not in which case? To me, it matters not. If it’s acceptable in any case, then you’re back to the two options.
      Once again, not against human rights.

      Delete
    63. I've already sent the relevant section of the XIVth amendment, which clearly states: 'All persons BORN OR NATURALIZED in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.'

      Delete
    64. "1. Not actual people.
      2. I don’t care for these subtleties. Bottom line, if your constitution can’t protect women rights, to me it’s only another of its numerous failings, which I remind you already were the cause of a bloody civil war, and of segregation."

      They are actual people. And the Constitution is a failure in the sense that it doesn't fully protect the rights of persons in wombs. And you should care for subtleties. Guess what, subtleties are important in French law also!

      "Someone claiming chinese persons are persons is just stating it, not trying to prove it. "

      I am also not trying to prove that persons in wombs are persons. They just are, no need to prove anything. The burden of proof on you is to show they're not, which you have trying to do with a human-rights argument in favor of the mother.

      "Once again, not against human rights"

      ??? The person in womb is a human.

      "All persons BORN OR NATURALIZED..."

      I am not sure if this language means to exclude fetuses, if we decided that they are people (which they are). This is a case where education (in constitutional law) would matter very much. In any case, I agree with you that the Constitution should be updated to unequivocally codify their status as people.

      Delete
    65. Subtleties are important. But not here, because it doesn’t matter either way. If the Supreme Court is right about the constitution, it’s a declaration of failure, but even if they’re wrong, it’s nothing new that the oldest constitution still in use is largely overdue for some major updates, which are sadly not likely to get in anytime soon (the last meaningful amendment adopted is already some 50 years old).

      ‘I am also not trying to prove that persons in wombs are persons. They just are, no need to prove anything’
      ‘That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.’ Christopher Hitchens, based on roman law : ‘Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur’…

      ‘The burden of proof on you is to show they're not, which you have trying to do with a human-rights argument in favor of the mother.’ I have no such burden, I’ve charitably taken your challenge and strangely pursued it even though it’s abundantly clear you don’t know much of what we’re talking about, and will probably let your feelings dictate you to never change your mind whatever I might say. I must be crazy.

      ‘The person inside the womb is a human’. It’s not a person, and your hair is also human. Human rights are for human PEOPLE.

      ‘I am not sure if this language means to exclude fetuses, if we decided that they are people (which they are). This is a case where education (in constitutional law) would matter very much.’ Are we really stepping so low ? It seems the subtleties you love are going to be necessary, but this time I’ll let you do your homework. So, for next time, read justice Alito’s majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, and you tell me if even he believes the constitution extends full human rights to fetuses.

      Delete
    66. "If the Supreme Court is right about the constitution, it’s a declaration of failure"

      No, the Constitution was never meant to address everything in the world, or every new "right" the philosophers dream up after getting a little too giddy with the alcohol.

      "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence"

      Saying a person in a womb is not a person is an assertion without evidence, precisely same way saying a Chinese person is not a person.

      "So, for next time, read justice Alito’s majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, and you tell me if even he believes the constitution extends full human rights to fetuses."

      He doesn't use your argument from the language, as far as I can tell, maybe I missed it, can you reference a page number?

      In general, all this talk of "knowing what you're talking about" is useless for this discussion, since it's very clear that you mean by that knowing the opinions of the pro-abortion side. Did YOU read Alito's opinion where he references those who believe fetuses are people and abortion is murder? Does he know what he's talking about? Do those he quotes know what they're talking about?

      Delete
    67. 'No, the Constitution was never meant to address everything in the world, or every new "right" the philosophers dream up after getting a little too giddy with the alcohol.'
      We already spoke about this, the constitution is, among other things, supposed to protect the people from tyranny of the majority, by protecting human rights, and the US is supposed to define those by the UDHR it adopted in 1948.

      'Saying a person in a womb is not a person is an assertion without evidence, precisely same way saying a Chinese person is not a person.' I've already answered that too.
      'If he was trying to prove, for example, that chinese persons are indeed persons, he will have to show how they correspond to the definition of persons, (one of the things John Locke was trying to demonstrate in the citation above) and not just because he says so.'
      The citation in question says: ...'There being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously BORN to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, ....' That is indeed a conclusive argument for why chinese humans who are already born, should enjoy personhood just as well as other people. It is not, however, for unborn chinese humans.

      Concerning Justice Alito, I'll answer your later questions before the first. It's not true that I mean only the opinions of the pro-choice side, I've referenced some stances of the pro-life side as well. But what you're saying is not what educated pro-lifers say, unless they back it by religion.

      Yes, I have fully read that paper, which I doubt you have, since even now I've asked you to, you obviously missed very important points.
      Justice Alito is very aware of all I've been telling you. But he is a real religious dogmatist, for two religions, catholicism and originalism. Now I really don't want to spend time explaining to you what originalism is, you are the american after all. So Justice Alito doesn't care for the UDHR which he views as non-binding (which is what you would have told me if you had any idea what you ARE talking about), and certainly not against his utterly holy Constitution, read the way the holy Founding Fathers meant it in the first place. And especially if that way he will be able to help banning legal abortion, which the holy Catholic Church views as a serious sin, murder indeed.
      So you can be sure if he had any way of saying his precious Constitution means to protect fetuses from abortion he would have written it, so that a future lawsuit gives him the chance to ban it throughout the US.

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    68. Page one:
      'Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views. Some BELIEVE FERVENTLY that a human person comes into being at conception andthat abortion ends an innocent life. Others feel just as strongly that any regulation of abortion invades a woman’s right to control her own body and prevents women from achieving full equality (Of course, Alito doesn't believe these are required by the constitution). Still others in a third group think that abortion should be allowed under some but not all circumstances, and those within this group hold a variety of views about the particular restrictions that should be imposed.'

      Delete
    69. Page five:
      '...but abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called “fetal life” and what the law now before us (the Mississipi state Gestational Age Act itself!) describes as an “unborn human being.”

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    70. Page six:
      'It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of
      abortion to the people’s elected representatives. “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to
      be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then
      voting.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 979 (Scalia, J., concurring in
      judgment in part and dissenting in part). THAT IS WHAT THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RULE OF LAW DEMAND.'
      So no defense of fetuses in the constitution. Why?

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    71. Page 29:
      'One may disagree with this belief (and our decision is NOT BASED ON ANY VIEW ABOUT WHEN A STATE SHOULD REGARD PRENATAL LIFE AS HAVING RIGHTS OR LEGALLY COGNIZABLE INTEREST) (but don't worry, if he could say it from the constitution, he would), but even Roe and Casey did not question the good faith of abortion opponents.'

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    72. Page thirty-six:
      'The dissent’s failure to engage with this long tradition is
      devastating to its position. WE HAVE HELD that the “established method of substantive-due-process analysis” requires that an unenumerated right be “deeply rooted in
      this Nation’s history and tradition’” before it can be recognized as a component of the “liberty” protected in the Due Process Clause.
      Yes, the constitution is his religion.

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    73. Page thirty-eight:
      'Our opinion is not based on any view about if and when
      prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after
      birth. The dissent, by contrast, would impose on the people
      a particular theory about when the rights of personhood
      begin. According to the dissent, the Constitution requires
      the States to regard a fetus as lacking even the most basic
      human right — to live — at least until an arbitrary point in a
      pregnancy has passed. Nothing in the Constitution or in
      our Nation’s legal traditions authorizes the Court to adopt
      that “‘theory of life.’”
      Not in the Constitution, not in your 'legal traditions'. See, he is perfectly aware that it can be demonstrated. But he doesn't care, because Scripture.

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    74. Page 69:
      'We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a
      right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives. '

      Delete
    75. "the constitution is, among other things, supposed to protect the people from tyranny of the majority, by protecting human rights, and the US is supposed to define those by the UDHR it adopted in 1948."

      Why in the world do you think the Constitution is supposed to cover everything in the UDHR?? Did you expect the US to amend the Constitution as soon as they adopted UDHR? To include "food, clothing, housing and medical care"? Did anybody expect this, ever?

      "There being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously BORN to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection"

      John Locke is not God, and I don't particularly care about his particular unscientifically-informed opinion on this matter, even if I respect his overall views and tremendous impact on law and history, and especially on our Constitution (which you trashed). Also, he definitely did not mean to make a point about abortion here. Also, you can find educated people who claimed black people are not people.

      "But what you're saying is not what educated pro-lifers say, unless they back it by religion."

      What in the world are you talking about? This is exactly what educated pro-lifers say. Just from the Court's opinion:

      "Henry de Bracton’s 13th-century treatise explained that if a person has “struck a pregnant
      woman, or has given her poison, whereby he has caused
      abortion, if the foetus be already formed and animated, and
      particularly if it be animated, he commits homicide.”"

      " William Blackstone explained that abortion of a
      “quick” child was “by the ancient law homicide or manslaughter” (citing Bracton), and at least a very “heinous
      misdemeanor” (citing Coke)."

      " Hale wrote that if a physician gave a
      woman “with child” a “potion” to cause an abortion, and the
      woman died, it was “murder” because the potion was given
      “unlawfully to destroy her child within her.”

      Of course, I can easily quote many more educated people on the matter, but what would be the point? You will just claim this is "religious" reasoning. And you expand "religion" to include taking the Constitution seriously. You trash the Constitution while unironically quoting John Locke in support of abortion. This is getting ridiculous.

      "So Justice Alito doesn't care for the UDHR which he views as non-binding (which is what you would have told me if you had any idea what you ARE talking about)"

      I'm pretty sure I did tell you that, did I not make myself clear? If it was up to me, they should write a new UDHR that explicitly protects the rights of people in wombs.

      About your quotes from Alito: I agree that he doesn't state the Constitution explicitly protects the rights of people in wombs. He is totally non-committal on that, and leaves it to the legislature (possibly for pragmatic reasons). But he doesn't say the Constitution EXCLUDES it either, which is what you said. Meaning, if a future court would decide that people in wombs are definitely people and are therefore automatically protected by the Constitution, Alito would not necessarily find that unconstitutional.

      You are willing to dismiss any educated pro-life opinion as "religious". Guess what, I can just as easily dismiss any pro-abortion opinion "hedonistic" or "radical feminist" (not you, you are just arguing their side). Is there any point in further pursuing that line of discussion?

      Warning: At some point as the number of comments approach 200, you will have to click on a "see more" button to see them.

      Delete
    76. 'Why in the world do you think the Constitution is supposed to cover everything in the UDHR?' Because you adopted it.
      'Did anybody expect this, ever?' Yep, that's the goal.

      I'm not arguing John Locke is infallible, I'm saying he gives arguments for what he states. He's not making a point about abortion but about personhood. I knew there were chances you'll like him, that's why I picked him.
      'Also, you can find educated people who claimed black people are not people.' Indeed. What percentage do they represent today? Do you think their near-disparition is an unexplainable mystery?

      'What in the world are you talking about? This is exactly what educated pro-lifers say.' Not these days.

      Henry de Bracton was a catholic priest. All subsequent english legislation on this subject quoted by the court merely elaborates on his law, which is given without any demonstration (and only speaks about animated fetuses, which shows the catholics went backward on the issue). William Blackstone was merely codifying already extant common law. Hale is saying it is murder against the mother, not the fetus, but there is malicious intent because aborting is . unlawful. But all of this is of little interest, because subsequent legislation abandoned the murder characterization. Probably also an unnacounted for mystery.

      'And you expand "religion" to include taking the Constitution seriously.' At this level, yes it is. Why should any old legislation be carefully read 'the exact way it was intended to by its writers', without any regard to changes of context, while at the same time opposing any reform, good or bad, of it to adapt to evolving times? To me, that is idolatry.

      He is totally non-committal on that'' Non-commital because admitting commitment would be a vulnerability in his argumentation, since he accuses others of precisely that. 'and leaves it to the legislature (possibly for pragmatic reasons).' Well, if you think that you obviously don't know the man. I can assure you if he believed it was defendable, he would have written it. He would love nothing more than be able to say the constitution defends the fetus' right to life. But there is no case and he knows it perfectly well.

      'But he doesn't say the Constitution EXCLUDES it either, which is what you said.' Never said that, I said I don't care.

      'You are willing to dismiss any educated pro-life opinion as "religious". I am not. Bring me one that isn't and doesn't hide behind fake '-noncommitment', but has actual arguments. Because if the only argument is 'because I say so' (or it's variant 'because I have deep feelings about it'), then religious arguments are clearly better.

      'Is there any point in further pursuing that line of discussion?' Probably not. I am definitely crazy for having gone that far already. I don't know what I'm trying to prove to myself.

      Delete
    77. "'Did anybody expect this, ever?' Yep, that's the goal."

      Then you don't understand the purpose of the American Constitution. It is not like the constitutions of other countries. Nobody who understands it ever expected the Constitution to codify "food, clothing, housing and medical care". Those are left to the legislative branch.

      "I'm not arguing John Locke is infallible, I'm saying he gives arguments for what he states."

      His argument - "there being nothing more evident..", which you consider an argument, is coincidentally precisely my argument that a person in womb is a person. There is nothing more evident than the fact that a person in womb is a person.

      " Indeed. What percentage do they represent today? Do you think their near-disparition is an unexplainable mystery?"

      You continue with the argumentum ad populum. There is no difference between saying a person of a certain skin color is not a person, and a person in womb is not a person. But one has gained more popularity than the other. Popular social movements are not "unexplained mysteries", they just are.

      "'Not these days. Henry de Bracton was a catholic priest..."

      I'm sorry, you keep on moving the goalposts. I can just as easily say that anybody who is a pro-abortion is a secularist, and therefore doesn't count. Since there are many, many educated people these days who believe that a person in a womb is a person, that is all I need. And I don't even need them, as I am not relying on them anyways, but on my own argument. And in any case you are wrong, see here https://secularprolife.org/abortion/

      "I can assure you if he believed it was defendable, he would have written it. He would love nothing more than be able to say the constitution defends the fetus' right to life."

      No, Alito is arguing from a constitutional point of view, and the Constitution has nothing to say about the fetus. The fetus's right to life comes from the extra-Constitutional recognition that that there is no distinction between a baby in womb and any other baby, which is so self-evident, there is nothing more evident than it. If somebody would bring a case and an argument like this to court, how much do you want to bet Alito would accept it?

      "Bring me one that isn't and doesn't hide behind fake '-noncommitment', but has actual arguments."

      Bring me a pro-abortionist who has actual arguments other than "I believe it should be the women's right and the UDHR says so".

      Delete
    78. 'Nobody who understands it ever expected the Constitution to codify "food, clothing, housing and medical care". Those are left to the legislative branch.' Not codify, mention them as rights. No difference with other constitutions on this point.

      Nothing more evident is not an argument. The argument is that there is no natural meaningful difference. If you think color is a meaningful difference, then you're up against the overwhelming majority opinion. However if you think basic autonomous existence is a meaningful difference (as opposed to a biologic parasitic state), then you're with the overwhelming majority opinion, as answers to the 'violonist' quandary clearly show. And that's not even the only criterium, only the most obvious.

      'You continue with the argumentum ad populum.' Like I wrote already that is the only way we can get to a decision on philosophical questions. But probably you believe even democracy is argumentum ad populum.

      'And in any case you are wrong,' On what?

      'see here https://secularprolife.org/abortion/. So, let's see: 'We believe consistency demands that we protect all humans as morally relevant and members of our species.'
      believe is the important word here, yes. Because philosophical, remember? But believing is not proving.

      So how does that stand the stress-test of the 'violonist'? Here: https://secularprolife.org/the-rape-exception/.
      'We do not take an official position for or against the rape exception, and instead keep the debate open'. OK, so far with 'consistency'.

      So the only 'consistent' side is that one: https://secularprolife.org/2012/04/arguing-against-rape-exception/ :
      'That is why it is inconsistent of pro-lifers to make an exception for abortion in cases of rape. If we are pro-life because we believe the testimony of science that life begins at fertilization, then a child conceived in rape is no less a human being. If we will not justify the death of a born child whose father is a rapist and whose presence is causing his mother pain and suffering, then neither ought we justify the death of a younger and less developed child conceived in rape.' Indeed. I agree this is the only rational pro-life stance, a very small minority opinion, and actually advocating inequal rights for women.
      A very far shot from: 'There is nothing rational, and everything irrational about the arbitrary cutoff point of deciding the baby is only a person when it exits the womb. This irrational position can only be justified from a dogmatic religious perspective.'

      'If somebody would bring a case and an argument like this to court, how much do you want to bet Alito would accept it?'
      I don't really get the question. If the claimant would say it is constitutional law, he would have to refuse it.

      'Bring me a pro-abortionist who has actual arguments other than "I believe it should be the women's right and the UDHR says so".' I did.

      Delete
  15. I'm curious how you square your sudden adherence to the supposed traditional rabbinic opinion of when a life begins, with your opposition to the traditional rabbinic opinion on when a life ends:

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/01/critical-ramifications-of-correctly.html

    In this post, and the many that follow it, you claim that Chazal were mistaken about when a life ends: it is not, as they say, when the breath stops, but when the brain stops. You maintain that it's okay that you disagree with Chazal, because Chazal were just using the science of their day, whereas you are using modern day science.

    What makes you so sure that the rabbinic tradition on when a life begins was well grounded in modern day science, but the rabbinic tradition on when a life ends was not? Can you explain why you are happy to dispute the rabbinic tradition on when a life metaphysically ends, but snidely accuse people of tribalism when they dispute the supposed rabbinic tradition of when life begins?

    Indeed, one can theoretically make the argument that since Chazal believed the breath determined life, a fetus was not considered a fully fledged human until it took its first breath in the world. But your stance is that the brain is the determinant of life, and we now know that the brain begins to develop in the fetus as soon as 5 weeks.

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    1. The argument is not that the fetus is dead, it's that it is not yet independent life. It is still ืขื•ื‘ืจ ื™ืจืš ืืžื•.

      Delete
    2. On the very last point: the brain indeed begins to develop early on in the fetal process because it is so freakishly complex that it takes TWENTY-FIVE YEARS to completely finish forming! The presence of a brain - especially an early form of one - does not constitute individual thought (v'ha ra'aya, Internet commenters, yuk yuk). A 5 week old embryo has no sense of identity or very much of anything. The trimester argument at least is based on the shape of a full human at that time, that one can argue that at THAT time, the fetus has some ability to feel and think. Where the line is, who knows, but don't conflate the presence of protoneural tissue with a formed and functional cerebral cortex.

      Delete
    3. Yosef R -

      R Slifkin opines that brain death is considered death. Okay, fine. Well, a 5 week old fetus isn't experiencing "brain death" - it is experiencing "brain formation." Quite the opposite scenario, don't you think? In fact, one of his primary reasons for rejecting the breath as the source of death is that, unlike brain death, the breath can be restarted!

      Delete
    4. A well-written comment. A key word in your last sentence if "theoretical". In actual fact, abortion has always been viewed by Jews with abhorrence. It was never a societal issue of us, though, because teenage or out-of-wedlock pregnancies simply aren't as common in the Jewish world as they are in the Gentile. And while obviously abortion has relevance also to married couples, it is not what drives the issue. So we never had reason to worry about it.

      And that point is what P. Slifkin and EVERYBODY else on the orthodox Jewish left who feels strangely compelled to weigh in on this, has missed: We have no real say on the issue, b/c teenage pregnancy isn't our problem. That's not the Jewish yetzer hora. It's like crack and heroine. It's not our children wasting away. So its not for us to say what should and should not be done about it. That's the issue here. It's not our teenage daughters getting pregnant. So how dare anyone of us say society should have just allowed the ongoing social disaster we are currently in to continue. I'm talking apart from distorting halacha, and apart from the clear reason for the S. Ct to restore the status quo. What kind of chutzpah does it take for any orthodox Jew, whose community, pound for pound, if barely affected by the scourge of teenage pregnancy, to tell the Gentile world what to do about it?

      More to say, and there are a lot more ills directly died to abortion than teenage pregnancy, but that alone is enough of a reason for leftist orthodox Jews to keep their mouths shut.

      GP

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    5. GP, what I've noticed about these people (what you call the Orthodox Jewish left) is that they can be very intelligent, highly knowledgeable on the subject matter, and even meticulous in their observance. But that observance is mechanistic and soulless, to the degree they even accept Chaza"l on it. They have no heart. Hence the absolute disdain for the goyim and the desire, obsession even, for liberal abortion laws in their lands so as not to inconvenience Jews' access to halachically permissible abortions, no matter how rare the actual need for such, while all the while putting a stumbling block in front of the blind.

      I know one such individual where I live. He's not really a lefty like on display here, and not really soulless, but hearkens from a similar background. He has complained at some length about the length of Shabbos tefilla, among other things, at communal meetings.

      At one point, surprised at the insistence in his tone and persistence in delivering his message, someone asked him, "Do you enjoy davening?"

      His response would fit right in here: "It's a chiyuv." Delivered as disdainfully as it reads. So he does it. Nothing more. Perfunctory.

      These people here are 10x, 100x worse. That's the sense I get here. Cold, heartless.

      As far as the SCOTUS rulling...abortion is just the start. Just wait until the closet becomes fashionable again. They might faint.

      Delete
    6. GP, I will also add, this intense desire to opine on a topic they really have no need to, and even shouldn't, is, indeed classic gamma behavior. There is even a specific label for this particular behavior pattern. "Secret King." Am I gamma for responding? Perhaps. But to the extent I opine on the subject, which is to counter a very toxic brew, I am at least in congruence with the societal zeitgeist as well as the halacha. They are neither.

      Does any of this sound familiar?

      Beating gammas like dead horses can be entertaining if done with a view to educate those they try to fool with their assumed “superior intellect and knowledge”.

      More importantly, it teaches people to think clearly and see through their never-changing methods, which can be listed as follows:

      Conflation – mixing two or more topics together in an erroneous fashion in order to come to some new fake “conclusion” that pushes their narrative.

      Sophistry – the endless arguing about the exact meaning of a word or phrase with a view to twisting it into some abomination if not its exact opposite. The general conflation of words and meanings to try and produce a new and false narrative that supports their lies.

      Appeal to false authority – “I have a PhD in physics (or nose picking) therefore my ideas on physics (or nose picking) are correct” – No. No they are not. Correct ideas are correct. Wrong ones are wrong.

      Appeal to authority falsely – “Jesus said homosexuality/raping children/sexual slavery by Saracens/whatever perversion suits me personally is just fine” – No. No He did not. Not even hinted it might be ok. And specifically stated the opposite.

      False Charity – “Well, we can’t PROVE the man who raped that child to death meant harm. It’s an accident, we must be charitable” – No. Burn him at the stake.

      Outright lying – This one is hard for normal people to actually believe because the lies can be so outrageous and in your face that it’s hard to believe anyone sane would even say such things. But they range the full gamut and can be subtle but insidious or blatant. And very often are based on the conflations and sophistry they laid down to begin with.

      Gamma Forever – The general endless arguing without ever settling anything in order to frustrate as well as give the impression that the topic is too complex for normal people to care about or alternatively be able to follow. This activity can’t actually be helped by the gamma. They NEED to get the last word in no matter how obviously and thoroughly they have been shown to be wrong, liars and fakes, so that in their own minds (and nowhere else) they “won” and can continue being the secret king!

      Delete
    7. These are all reprehensible behaviors. This is why gamma, even though strictly a label for a collection of behaviors, is an insult. This post and the comments exhibits all these behaviors in spades. I'll be happy to accept the gamma label if it can be shown I am guilty of these things. I am not.

      All the people here who pointlessly argue hard to follow minutiae while constantly redefining words and so forth, they are all gammas. They snipe and ankle-bite and insult and put down constantly, and when met with the same behavior in response, complain like they are pure as snow and their treatment is totally undeserved, like the retarded babies they are. They can call me gamma all they want. That's pure projection, which is something else they do constantly.

      Delete
    8. GP -

      "A key word in your last sentence if "theoretical". In actual fact, abortion has always been viewed by Jews with abhorrence."

      I agree. I was granting R' Slifkin's position for the sake of revealing the seeming contradiction with his stance on brain death.

      (P.S. I am the accidentally anonymous comment replying to Yosef R.)

      Delete
    9. Wow. I'm beginning to wonder if shimshon is a right wing xian nationalist sent at the behest of vox day to chepper jewish blogs. Pro tip: what Jesus did or didn't say is not considered "authoritative" on this site. (Obviously you were cutting and pasting but I don't see a committed Yid including that portion. (nor slavishly following a radical xtian guy like vox day to begin with. All of this is suspicious.)

      Delete
    10. "Does any of this sound familiar?"

      You forgot gish galloping.

      Delete
    11. Dave, thank you for referring to me by my name.

      I pay attention to Vox for many reasons, none of which has to do with his religious beliefs. Your "pro tip" is stupid. Quoting something by way of example does not endorse every aspect of the quote. Perhaps I chose to leave it in because I knew it would get a rise out of you. What you see is irrelevant. It is also projection.

      Wonder all you want. "Christian nationalism" can't be a thing for the simple reason that Christianity is not a nation. That there are nations that identify as Christian is a thing. I have no problem with them, in their lands, asserting themselves. Would that our state stood by the Jews so vociferously. Instead, we have Christians coming here en masse overwhelming us and even posing as us. But that's on us, not them.

      Vox has published innovative and even groundbreaking work in numerous areas that are of interest to me.

      He posited a between autism and atheism that inspired a peer-reviewed study.

      Economics and free trade and immigration. Prominent PhD economists have responded to his insights.

      War and religion. The common refrain of "religion causes wars" has been decisively discredited thanks to his thorough research.

      A famous prediction from the early oughts that the US as we know it will dissolve no later than 2033. At the time, most people, including you, would have considered that bonkers. Many probably still do. But it is no longer looking so crazy. Vox's audience called him an optimist for setting that date. That is looking more true by the day.

      This is just a sampling of why I find him worth paying attention to.

      Delete
  16. Here is a radical idea. Everyone should follow their own religion. So if your religion demands that you wear a turban, you should wear a turban and not bother anyone else about their own turban-free heads.
    If your religion demands that you set up a viable state somewhere in the Middle East, you can try and do so. Without forcing that belief on others.
    And if your religion tells you not to abort fetuses, do not abort fetuses. Ever. Not your own or other people's.
    If the same religion tells you to recite Kidush on Friday night, by all means do so. But do not use the government to force others to do so.

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    1. Exactly. I would make the more general rule that we should make sure ืžืฆื•ื•ืช ื‘ื™ืŸ ืื“ื ืœืžืงื•ื remain ื‘ื™ืŸ ืื“ื ืœืžืงื•ื.

      Delete
  17. Rabbi Slifkin.
    is it passable to add marei mekomos (Mesechta, Daf. E.T.C.) when you reference the Talmud or Rishonim and so on. i enjoy your articles and when i discus it with my Chasidishe friends and quote the Gemera or this or that Rishon they tell me where does it say so?? it can't be true!.

    I desperately need Marei Mekomos. could you make a habit of adding them in your articles???

    who am I to ask, but its for the greater good.....

    ReplyDelete
  18. A fetus is a baby.

    "As a scientist I know, not believe, know that human life begins at conception. Although I am not a formal religionist, I believe with all my heart that there is a divinity of existence which commands us to declare a final and irreversible halt to this infinitely sad and shameful crime against humanity."
    — Dr. Bernard Nathanson

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    Replies
    1. From Wikipedia:
      Nathanson grew up Jewish, and for more than ten years after he became anti-abortion, he described himself as an "atheist". In 1996, he converted to Catholicism through the efforts of the Rev. C. John McCloskey. In December 1996, Nathanson was baptized by John Cardinal O'Connor in a private Mass with a group of friends in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. He also received Confirmation and first Communion from the cardinal.
      That's the guy we're suposed to follow?

      Delete
    2. "A fetus is a baby."

      No it isn't.

      Delete
    3. It's not necessarily a binary question: human or not.

      There real question of Roe versus Wade is who is best placed to provide the answers and the conclusion of RvW was that up to a significant stage in gestation the mother was.

      Delete
  19. I don't understand why Leah, and others, can't just disagree with R. Slifkin without disparaging his character and calling him names. This seems to be au rigeur among Republicans and members of the Trump cult.
    Jeff Bernstein

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    Replies
    1. When the facts and the law aren't on your side you resort to namecalling.

      Delete
  20. I for one think the overturning of Roe V Wade is a good thing for society, despite it potentially being against halacha and affecting Jewish women.

    For example, Jewish law requires me to murder people such as Amelekites. Yet, I would want a government to forbid murder in all cases, despite it impacting my observance of Jewish law, because the societal impact of government -allowed murder is much worse.

    Similarly, I would want a government to ban abortion despite it's potential to prevent Jews from following Jewish law, because legalized abortion's societal impact is far worse

    ReplyDelete
  21. Previous comment by Ash

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  22. “the Gemara, discussing the case of a woman dying in childbirth, "where she may be saved at the expense of the fetus if its head has not yet emerged”

    That is Mishnah Ohalot 7:6. Pretty chilling to read but it is pretty clear what Chazal thought of the importance of saving the mother’s life.

    ReplyDelete
  23. “the halacha's stance of abortion on goyim (forbidden in all cases, no pikuach nefesh exception)”

    That contradicts an explicit gemara in Gittin 59a.

    “always distinguishing between Jew and goy”

    Different laws for Jews and goyim are not allowed in the United States. At one point, that was allowed here. For example, to profess Judaism was a death penalty offense in Maryland during colonial times. Different laws for Jews and goyim are a really bad thing to suggest; it usually doesn't work out well for us. But anyone wanting to ban all abortions has already announced that he wants more dead Jewish women....

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  24. About 1 in 50 pregnancies implant in the fallopian tubes rather than the uterus. Without an abortion (spontaneous in a minority of cases), the outcome will be maternal death. With legal jeopardy to skilled local abortion providers, it is, in Reb Moshe's New York Catholic influenced words, 'rov karov l'vadai' that women will die.

    -

    It's too easy to demand from others that which we patently obviously know we could not possibly provide ourselves. Every proponent of abortion restriction should adopt all the Downs Syndrome and foetal alcohol syndrome children who are going to be born It takes a special person to parent a Downs Syndrome child and even then money is essential for survival. Most people are not special. In the Heim where grinding poverty made the struggle to survive vastly more real than arguing on the internet, they had very ugly ways of dealing with this which we do not like to discuss: infanticide. Those who call others 'retards' in this thread should try raising one.

    -

    As I see it, personhood is conferred on a foetus gradually over the course of a pregnancy. The Talmud acknowledges this pragmatically, from the first 40 days, to the woman in labor whose pregnancy is a reason to halt her execution. The gentile who deserves the death penalty for aborting a foetus is like the gentile who gets the death penalty who gets the death penalty for stealing a grain of barley: the Gemora was safe in the knowledge that no Goy would ever approach bais din for a pesak. It is in the realm of rhetoric not real life halacha.

    -

    There is a flip side to this which is the astonishing and unconscionable rate of about 20 percent of pregnancies which end in an induced abortion in the US (1.4 per 100 women) especially amongst black women, particularly a surgical abortion. More contraception and better education are the best ways to reduce this figure; I fear we are now headed for the return of Lysol induced necrosis.

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    Replies
    1. About unwanted pregnancies in the black community:
      When I lived in Boston, I once heard a radio interview with a police detective, on the topic of teen pregnancies. The detective himself was Afro-American, and they were discussing teen pregnancies specifically in the black community.
      The interviewer said that teen moms say that they have a child at an early age, because they're looking for something to love, and to prove their ability as a parent.
      The detective answered: "That's not what they say among themselves. The conversation is usually around peer pressure to prove that they're fertile. If a young lady is sexually active, and doesn't get pregnant by age 20, their friends start to say that maybe she's infertile."
      This leads to a large number of single-parent children.

      Delete
  25. All this gamma and retard nonsense is a distressing reminder that social media rots the brain.

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  26. Dear RNS,
    You do not play fair here in several aspects.
    1. You chose a point to campaign around a question whether abortion is homicide or not. OK, assume it is not. So what? How that makes is permittable?
    For example: for Jewish woman, an intercourse with non-Jew is not "giluy arayot" in a level of "die but not transgress" and Tosfot says it's like bestiality rather than adultery. Do you now hear liberals crying "that's great, sleeping with non-Jew is not adultery"? OK, so it is not adultery; but that does not mean that it is permittable.
    Also, it's true that some authorities question *why* abortion is forbidden. Are you aware about someone of Rishonim who question *whether* abortion is forbidden??
    2. As I already explained in a comment to one of previous posts, the condemned pregnant woman is very specific case you shall not extend. You can find such specific cases in almost any area of Halacha.
    3. You are a prominent fighter about distortions and misinterpretations, why the case of abortion is the exception? The opinion of Rambam is absolutely clear: abortion is homicide.
    https://www.hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?mfid=90444&rid=14993
    Kesef Mishne brings the source from Gemara. Look into the source: the sage do not argue whether abortion is forbidden in principle or not, that is out of the question. They only discuss whether a non-Jew deserves capital punishment for abortion, and if so - which exactly.
    4. Let me repeat the request. So, dear RNS claims that that was rabbinic consensus about abortion until recent times. I guess he is correct. Who is aware about any Rishonim who disagree with Rambam?
    The special request is for Dave and others who called me in "colorful" names: go ahead, prove that you are better lamdanim than me!

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    1. "You chose a point to campaign around a question whether abortion is homicide or not. OK, assume it is not. So what? How that makes is permittable?" I didn't say it is. This post was about a very specific aspect. (Though of course once it is not homicide, there will be more situations when it is permissible.)

      Delete
    2. What's the question? If it's chavalah as opposed to retzichah there would be numerous, common cases where it would be permissible.

      Delete
    3. @RNS "I didn't say it is" - seriously? After you dedicate a series of articles to legitimize it? Whom do you try to trick?

      Meanwhile, the simply truth is that according Gemara and the poskim abortion is murder and is a crime in the same level as killing a non-Jew or "trefa" man, and there always was a consensus among the authorities about this issue (until Havvoth Yair came and introduced an apparent mistake).

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    4. The Maharit was before the Chavos Yair.

      Delete
    5. @Dave "The Maharit was before the Chavos Yair." I don't believe. Bring the exact link please. BTW there are many rabbies known as ืžื”ืจื™"ืช or ืžื”ืจื™ื˜.

      Delete
    6. " the simply truth is that according Gemara and the poskim abortion is murder" No, that is not the simple truth at all.

      Delete
    7. I'm curious how fanatic you are in your protest of the term. Do you disagree with the use of the term rhetorically as well, or just in the strictly halachic sense?

      Delete
    8. The exact link that the Maharit, R' Yosef Trani, was before the Chavos Yair? You need a link for that???

      Delete
    9. @Dave "The exact link that the Maharit, R' Yosef Trani, was before the Chavos Yair? You need a link for that???"
      Don't you guess? :-) The exact link to the response where he says so. Or, at least, a number of the response in one of editions published in hebrewbooks.org. Thanks in advance!
      Hillel Brodsky

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    10. Brodsky,
      I'm honestly confused. You consider yourself a bar plugta of the Chavos Yair, make sweeping statements about the history of abortion halachah, and you don't know where one of the most famous mareh mekomos is regarding the subject? Did you read either the Igros Moshe or the Tzitz Eliezer? They both cite the Maharit chapter and verse, as do most later poskim who discuss the question.

      Delete
    11. @Dave "I'm honestly confused"-I am sorry to hear about your suffering, I fell for you and I wish you quick and full recovery.
      Hillel Brodsky

      Delete
  27. This is called setting up a strawman. Instead of all the reasoned arguments you may face, you pick the most extreme, personally insulting, and illiterate and set it up as if it was the standard and portray yourself as the poor victim. That's intellectually dishonest.

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    1. This is not a post about abortion. It's a post about myths about abortion.

      Delete
    2. You can't pretend to ignore the elephant in the room, though.

      Delete
    3. "It's a post about myths about abortion."
      Dear RNS, you are right once again!

      "it becomes abundantly clear that the majority rabbinic view over the ages is that abortion is not homicide in any shape or form." This is a myth. Majority rabbinic view over the ages and right now is that abortion is murder. Indeed, one who did that is not executed by beith-din (as well as one who killed a trefa man, for example), but it is still a murder.

      "For example, the execution of a woman who is pregnant..." The words "for example" are purposed to make impression that there is a plenty of other examples. This is a myth: there are not.

      Really, the propaganda in such the level fits guys like Moshe Meiselman or Christian missionaries, not great men like you.

      Delete
  28. Does anyone have a good summary of the opinions from Rambam, Rashi, Moshe Feinstein, and any other sources that are relevant. I was looking at those 3 a while ago, and I couldn't find them again.

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    1. RMF - no abortion unless there is close to certainty that failure to abort will result in maternal death.

      Rashi - some acharonim see him as being lenient. Could be argued both ways.

      Rambam - some acharonim see him as being stringent. Could be argued both ways.

      Chavos Yair - abortions are fine even for an unmarried girl with no health complications to avoid embarrassment.

      Delete
    2. @The Hat, is what you say in the name of chavos Yair based on your reading of siman 31 in his shu"t or from elsewhere in his writings or some secondary source? I personally didn't understand him to be as lenient as your representation, at least not in practice, but I might've missed something, can you please quote the relevant line verbatim? Thanks!

      Delete
    3. Apologies:

      Chavos Yair permits and encourages aborting a foetus which a mamzer of an eishes ish.

      R Y Emden is the one who permits aborting a single girl 's foetus due to family shame.

      Important to mention Tzitz Eliezer who permits aborting Tay Sachs babies with no medical risk to mother and would consider permitting up to 7 months depending on circumstances.

      Delete
    4. Sorry, but I have to say that my understanding of the chavos yair in practice is still more machmir, I understood him to be machmir in the case of mamzer in practice, while I thought Rav Yaakov Emden's kula in chelek 1 siman 43 was the one about mamzer, while at the beginning I thought he said that if she was a penuya it would be assur.

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    5. https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/158174?lang=bi

      I accept that the Chavos Yair is clearly uncomfortable with ruling in practice in accordance with the implications of his thinking.

      Reb Yaakov Emden clearly addresses a 'penuya' who is pregnant and seems entirely sanguine in practice.

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    6. Please read the entire tshuva of Rav Yaakov Emden, that source sheet quoted the question and then left out the paragraph where he explicitly says that it is pashut to him that there is nothing to talk about regarding either a single girl or a married woman pregnant from her husband and that it's assur in either of those cases (see ืื•ืช ื’ in the sefaria version of the tshuva, the second paragraph of his answer:
      ืฉื•"ืช ืฉืื™ืœืช ื™ืขื‘ืฅ ื—ืœืง ื ืกื™ืžืŸ ืžื’
       ื•ืื ื™ ื”ืฆืขื™ืจ ืื•ืžืจ ืœืขื "ื“ ื—ื™ืœื•ืง ื’ื“ื•ืœ ื™ืฉ ื‘ื“ื‘ืจ, ื•ื™ืฉ ืœื“ื•ืŸ ื”ืฉื•ืืœ ื”ื”ื•ื ืœื–ื›ื•ืช ืฉื‘ื“ืงื“ื•ืง ื•ื‘ื›ื™ื•ืŸ ืฉืืœ ืฉืืœืชื• ื‘ื"ื, ืืฃ ืื ืื•ืœื™ ืžืขืฉื” ืฉื”ื™' ืœื ื›ืš ื”ื™', ื ื›ื•ืŸ ืœื•ืžืจ ืขืœื™ื• ืฉืืœืช ื”ื—ื›ื ื—ืฆื™ ืชืฉื•ื‘ื”, ***ื“ื‘ืคื ื•ื™ื” ื•ื›"ืฉ ื‘ื ืฉื•ืื” ืžืขื•ื‘ืจืช ืžื‘ืขืœื”, ืœื ืงืžื™ื‘ืขื™ื ืœื™ื”, ื“ื•ื“ืื™ ื•ืœื“ ื”ื•ื, ื›ื™ ืื™ืš ืฉื™ื”ื™ื” ืืฃ ืฉืื™ืŸ ื—ื™ื™ื‘ื™ืŸ ืขืœื™ื• ื•ื“ืื™ ืื™ืกื•ืจื ืื™ื›ื ืžื™ื”ืช***, ืžื›ืžื” ื˜ืขืžื™ื ืฉืงืฆืช ืžื”ื ื‘ืื• ื‘ื“ื‘ืจื™ ื”ืจื‘ ื‘ืชืฉื•ื‘ืชื• ื”ื ื–'. ื•ืžื’ืžืจื ื“ืขื™ืจื›ื™ืŸ ืฉื”ื‘ื™ื ืื™ืŸ ืจืื™ื” ื›ืœืœ ื›ืžื• ืฉื“ื—ื” ื”ื•ื ื–"ืœ ื‘ืขืฆืžื•. ื•ืื ื™ ืื•ืกื™ืฃ ืœืงื— ื‘ืขื–"ื” ื‘ืกืžื•ืš. )

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  29. Also are there any lawyers (trial lawyers in particular) besides me who read this blog. Just curious to see how practicing American law every day in Florida effects peoples views on Jewish Law.

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  30. Some pro-abortionists are wondering why they are being attacked. Here is why you are being attacked. Your main argument (because halacha is complex, it is likely that restrictions on abortion will entail some halachically mandated abortions being forbidden, especially since a minority of poskim are quite lenient on issues like the mental health of the mother) is obviously stupid. It makes as much sense as saying that the Supreme Court should discover in the constitution a right to steal since the Rema permits Ta'us Akum. But it's worse than that because abortion horrifies all decent people. If you have ever put your hand on a woman's tummy and felt the kick, and you are not literally a demonic fiend, it horrifies you. Women who have felt that kick themselves are even more horrified. If you think hundreds of thousands of fetuses should be dismembered and sucked up tubes every year to facilitate fornication and hypergamy so half a dozen halachically mandated abortions can happen, you are a disgusting human being. Sorry, that's how it is; don't shoot the messenger. If you want strong safeguards for abortion in case of rape, risk to the mother's life, and incest, then you should lobby for such safeguards, which, in any case, are overwhelmingly popular, even in pro life states. You could also simply lobby for a law that permits abortion in cases where a Rav has signed off on it.

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    1. This is a very valid point. And it is important to be attuned to a deeply personal and healthy repugnance to violence.

      But do you not acknowledge that 3 hours after fertilisation and 3 weeks after fertilisation and 30 weeks after fertilisation are all very different things?

      Very few pro-choice fundamentalists take the view that a full term baby should be aborted if the mother changes her mind about motherhood because of the primacy of bodily autonomy and the right to choose. Conversely few pro-life extremists believe a 11 year old pregnant through incestuous rape should be forced to carry to term due to the personhood of the foetus (though this is an now the law in Mississippi) The differences are nuanced cases in the middle.

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    2. "Very few pro-choice fundamentalists..."

      You are obviously not familiar with the breed, who are as fundamentalist as they come. Most "pro-choice" advocates are not so extreme, but then why use the word "fundamentalist"? You are simply wrong.

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  31. Who is the modern day rabbi known for his "Iconoclasm". Was the Tzitz Eliezer an iconaclast? If how, are there examples of that?

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  32. What is the straightforward meaning of ืฉื—ื™ื™ื” ืงื•ื“ืžื™ืŸ ืœื—ื™ื™ื•? Before I read this brilliantly argued post, I would have thought it means that the fetus is considered a life

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  33. WFB, one must distinguish between the life of an organism (even that programmed to become a human life) and personhood. There is no question but that a fetus is a living being - just not yet a person. That's why the undisputed Mishna in Ohalot (7:6) declares that her life (a person) takes precedence of his (the fetus in the womb). The start of personhood according to the Mishna is when the fetus appears in the birth canal (the majority of the head or body - textual variations). At that point the two become equivalent so that one may not be sacrificed for the other. The Rambam can't and doesn't disagree with the above Mishna or the relevant Gemara in Sanhedrin (72b) which uses the above understanding of fetal life (not yet a nefesh) and explicitly rejects the invocation of a rodef on the fetus (I explained the Rambam's use of the term "like a rodef" to refer exclusively to the aspect of not showing pity for the fetus if it's endangering the woman, in an earlier post). The Rambam's argument in the laws of kings (near the end) that a Ben Noach is guilty of murder for killing a fetus is not a general invocation of murder for foetuscide (how could he rule contrary to his ruling in laws of Murder for Jews) but in intended only for a Ben Noach due to a ruling by R' Yishmael in Sanhedrin 59b. That ruling, in turn, is based on a derivation from a verse in Genesis 9:6,"Whoever kills an adam, through adam (ostensibly a court) shall he be killed.."(the Targums and commentators). R' Yishmael, however reads the verse more literally (disregarding punctuation given by the 'trop') an adam inside an adam, i.e., a fetus. The Rambam rules like this Tanna since his disputant's reading teaches that the death penalty Is strangulation, whereas the accepted Halacha is that it is killing by sword. Moreover, the Gemara in San. 72b uses a different reading of the verse to warn a rodef that his life is in jeopardy if he continues the pursuit. In any case, it is strange to conclude that abortion involving Jews is to be treated as murder (except in the most dire case of pikuach nefesh of the woman) when the fetus is not considered as a nefesh. That is also not the interpretation of the verse In Exodus 21:22 according to the Talmudic sages (only monetary compensation or fine is collected for the loss of a fetus). I don't see the ruling of R' Moshe Feinstein in the cited Choshen Mishpat 2:69 (a corrected reference would be appreciated). However the cited final lines of that ruling show an emotional reaction to abortion where the word 'mamash' (truly of literally) is used repeatedly. I agree with his anguish at the waste of much potential human life in abortions, but fail to see the source for calling it murder when a Ben Noach is not involved.
    Y.Aharon

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