Abortion in faith traditions Essay

Submitted By adugan96
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Abortion from Jewish and United Methodist Perspectives The controversial topic of abortion has been debated throughout history around the world. There are many different views on abortion based on religious and political affiliations. Different religions and political parties have contrasting views on abortion. There are many extenuating circumstances on abortion, which makes it a more difficult area to discuss. The religious views of Judaism and United Methodist perspectives are very similar on the topic of early pregnancy termination. Abortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy before fetal viability (Wynbrandt, 2008). Termination of pregnancy often occurs for many reasons some of which include danger to the mother, genetic defects, and pregnancy that occurred from rape. Different religions feel differently on when and if abortion is permitted and what potential consequences there are if an abortion is performed. Some of the different ways abortions can be performed are via suction, scraping of the embryo from the uterus, injections, and oral drugs. There is a self-administered abortion pill that is in circulation in France, mifepristone; this pill induces abortion when taken before the seventh week of pregnancy. Opposition by different religious groups kept mifepristone from being approved in the United States (Wynbrandt, 2008). Abortion has been a contemporary social issue in America since the 1960s. There are many women’s rights groups that have blossomed since the 1960’s including the National Abortion Rights Action League or NARAL and opposing right to life organizations (Husain, 2011). The pro choice and pro-life initiatives that are now present in the United States also transcend into political parties and religious groups. The Democratic Party mainly sides with women’s choice groups and Republicans believe in pro life. There are also different religious groups that side with pro life and pro-choice beliefs. The Catholic Church strongly believes in choosing life, while other religions such as Judaism and United Methodists do not have specific sides. The view of abortion from Jewish perspective is more undecided than some other religions. There are no written laws in Torah that specifically disprove the practicing of abortions, but similar to many world religions, it is frowned upon. Similar to many ministers in the Christianity religion, different Rabbis have differing opinions on the sensitive topic of abortion. “The majority of the authorities in Judaism believe that abortion should be permitted if it is necessary for the recuperation of the mother, even if there is no mortal danger attaching to the pregnancy and even if the mother’s illness has not been directly caused by the fetus” (Elon, 2007). Rabbi Moses Feinstein has a particularly strict approach to abortion in the Jewish faith and believes that “abortion would only be permitted if the doctors determined that there was a high probability that the mother would die were the pregnancy to be continued.” Rabbi Feinstein also believes that abortion should be allowed if the fetus suffers from a genetic disease that would decrease quality of life such as Down’s syndrome or Tay-Sachs disease (Elon, 2007). Although Judaism as a whole has the belief of choice based on circumstances, Orthodox Jews are usually affiliated with the pro-life campaign with the only exceptions of rape, incest, or the mother’s health (Vess, 2010). Other branches of Judaism, such as Conservative and Reform, side with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive choice (Harrison, 2004). It is clear that unlike some religions, Judaism has many different views of abortion based on a person’s branch of Judaism; individuals form their personal opinions of abortion in the Jewish faith. Similar to that of the Jewish perspective, the United Methodist branch of Christianity is also undecided on the abortion topic. On November 25th, I interviewed Kevin Davis, a youth leader in the United