Abortion refers to the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy commonly undertaken within the first 28 weeks and has been an ongoing issue for many centuries in the context of various religions. To gain an understanding of when abortion is accepted and when it is forbidden within the notion of Judaism requires an insight into specific nuances of Jewish law which outline the issue regarding the foetus. The issue of abortion within the torah is closely linked to that of the issue regarding the killing of another human being. This states that if someone is specifically trying to kill an innocent individual, it is ones duty to protect the innocent regardless of wether or not this means killing the potential murderer. Thus Jewish law imposes specific responsibilities on individuals to safeguard both their own lives as well as those of others. This concept can been seen within the book of Genesis as God is the giver of all life and therefore the only time when it is permitted to kill or harm others is in an act of self defence. Similarly this concept applies to abortion whereby a fetes is regarded as a potential life and subsequently one is forbidden to kill a foetus. Despite this the Torah argues that if the foetus is endangering the mothers life and that the only way to protect the mother is through the act of taking the life of the foetus, then killing the foetus is permitted. In saying this it is strictly clear that this only applies as long as the foetus is a life in potential. Thus the concept of killing another human being within Exodus 20:13 ‘You shall not murder’ would not apply to abortion as Judaism interprets the torah as implying that a foetus is only considered a human being when it has half emerged from the birth can...
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...e Talmudic period permits abortion if the foetus threatens the mothers life whereby the Biblical period alludes to this more covertly in which it refers penalties depending upon the state of the foetus.
In conclusion the issue of abortion is a central debate within Judaism whereby differing viewpoints are expressed. Some are of the opinion that abortion is permitted if the foetus will be born with a demurred affecting the quality of life and causing suffering whilst others argue it is the mothers decision to terminate the foetus. Ultimately the overriding argument is that abortion is sanctioned and even required when the foetus endangers the mothers life if and only if the foetus is not regarded as a fully fledged human being. Conversely if the foetus has entered the world it is granted the same status as the mother and therefore abortion is ultimately forbidden.
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