Conservative? Sen.-Elect Brown Says He Supports Woman’s Right to Choose

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brownRepublican Sen.-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts says he opposes federal funding for ending pregnancies, but thinks women should have the right to choose. Brown tells ABC’s “This Week” that he disagrees with his party’s position that the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion should be overturned.

Brown says the abortion question is one that’s best handled by a woman, her family and her doctor. He also says more effort needs to go into reducing the number of abortions in the U.S.

Brown has said the GOP shouldn’t take his vote for granted on every issue. He says he’s fiscally conservative but more moderate on social issues.

Brown recently won the Senate seat long held by liberal Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, who died last summer.

{ Newscenter}


  1. Matzav — There is no more such thing as a “Woman’s Right to Choose” abortion as there is a “Woman’s Right to Choose” infanticide. Please correct headline. There term “Woman’s Right to Choose” is appalling. Woman’s Right to Choose murder.

  2. I thought abortion is considered halachically acceptable under certain circumstances, with the approval of a rav. If, “Rebbe,” you wish to change halacha and make it 100% considered murder, I don’t think this is the place to do so.

  3. Not Bubby — There is no such thing as a “Woman’s Right to Choose”. In the very few instances where halacha demands abortion, it is not a matter of choice or choosing.

    A “Woman’s Right to Choose” is murder and infanticide.

  4. Rebbe and Shmuel are just ignoramuses. Plenty of choshuve rabbonim matir abortion for a variety of reasons, including the mental health of the mother.

    Why don’t you go learn what the Tzitz Eliezer paskened with regard to Taysachs fetuses before you spout off stupidness in a public forum? Why don’t you go learn about how the sanhedrin dealt with the fetuses of pregnant women who were chayav misa?
    A fetus is considered, for halachik purposes, an appendage of the woman’s body. It is usually assur to destroy it, but not always and not only in cases of life and death.

    In short, get an education before you post halachik pronouncements.

  5. This piece is not about abortion. It is about the fact that Scott Brown is not a hard right Rush Limbaugh conservative. Anyone who followed the election with interest any deeper than the specific horse-race numbers, knows this already. But everyone knows you’re not gonna get Strom Thurmond from Massachusettes. I’ll take my center right Senator from Massachusettes any day, and get his vote on the 80% of issues that he is on my side, and rely on others for the other issues. It is either Scott Brown who votes conservative 80-20, or Martha Coakley who would vote liberal 95-5. It’s a no brainer. You will never get someone with pure right wing ideology from the Peoples Republic of Massachusettes.

  6. Abortion for a reason other than the life of the mother is at risk, is not only assur min HaTorah, it is assur even for a nochri.

    Even to promote the idea of abortion, without actually performing it, is a sure way to reserve a seat in gehenim.

  7. midwesterner, I agree with you that better a liberal Republical like Brown (who will generally vote Republican, even if not always) than a left-wing Democrat.

    That being said, we as Yidden cannot support a pro-abortionist as a candidate.

  8. #9. Dave S: Then we should support Martha Coakley? Was she pro-life?

    and #10. Harry Berkowitz: When there is a death penalty for eiver min hachai and gezel pochus mishaveh pruta, then we’ll get death penalty for this also.

  9. Comments #1 and #3 from “Rebbe” and #4 from Shmuel are %1,000 correct!!

    Abortion is outright murder!! Plain and simple!!

    As such, it is %1,000 forbidden!!

  10. (Continuation of my above comment #14) (Yes, that one was mine even though it came out as “Anonymous”)

    Of course, with every Mitzva in the Torah, when there are very difficult circumstances, then there are certain leniencies. This obviously DOES NOT mean that the Mitzva is not really a Mitzva. NO!! The Mitzva IS still just as much of a Mitzva. It is just that in this difficult situation, HaShem Himself in His Torah states that there are certain leniencies.

  11. (Continuation of above comment)

    For example. One of the Mitzvas is that we are not allowed to eat pork – Basar Chazir. However, if, Chas V’Shalom a person is stuck in a place where the only food that is present is Basar Chazir, or any other of the forbidden foods – Maachalos Assuros, and having not eaten anything now for a number of days he is now in grave danger of collapsing and dying, then, on the contrary, the Mitzva is not only that he is allowed, the miztva is that he is REQUIRED to eat the available pork to keep himself alive!!

    Now again, this DOES NOT mean that there really is no Mitzva of not eating pork. And it certainly DOES NOT mean like our Jewish brothers who are far from the truth of our Torah say regarding the Mitzva of not eating pork: “When ‘they’ (obviously, these wicked members of our brothers, very tragically, cannot bring themselves to recognize that it is G-D Who makes the Torah!!! So they say:) “When ‘they’ ‘made’ those laws in those ancient times, they did so because pigs carry certain diseases. Now though, in our modern times, we have anti-biotics and pasturization that kill the harmful germs and remove them from the meat, so now, pork is perfectly all right to eat! So we have ‘reformed’ that Mitzva! Pork is now completely permitted!”

    Of course, Boruch HaShem, we know that the truth is that — NO!! NO!! NO!! — no one here is “reforming” anything!! The Mitzva is still here, now just as much as ever, that pork is completely FORBIDDEN!! It is just that in this specific difficult situation, HaShem Himself in His Own Torah says that this person is permitted and even required to eat some pork.

  12. Mandy,

    I’ll try to explain, although there are those far more knowledgeable who can do a better job:

    The Torah considers a fetus a living being, NOT an “appendage” to a woman’s body. I do not know when exactly the fetus is considered a separate human being, but it is sometime early on in the pregnancy, not in the third trimester.

    Sometimes, the unborn child assumes the halachic status of “rotzeiach”, murderer. The halacha is that if someone rises up to murder you, you may kill him first. On rare occasions, the continued pregnancy can cause a serious physical threat to the mother’s health. In such a case, since it is the pregnancy, ie the unborn child, who may cause the mother’s demise, it is permitted to take the life of the unborn child first.

    In issues as severe as taking a life, it is important to go with a consensus view and psak, as the ramifications of doing otherwise are serious indeed.

    I hope this was helpful.

  13. An idiot? Because I say it’s sometimes halachically permissible? Methinks you need to read Mandy’s post. She does a better job explaining it than I. In the meantime, to use her words, welcome to the club of ignoramuses. Some rabbis have given women permission to do this. If you can state as a fact that this has never happened, please prove it.

    Getzel, I suppose you think you are better and wiser than these rabbis. I mean, your post really reflects your brilliance.

  14. Not Bubby: Spare yourself. Mandy attempted to justify murdering the unborn children to help “the mental health of the mother”, to use her twisted words. I have no doubt she is from the Reform.

  15. (Tzitz Eliezer 9:51:3) Rav Eliezer Waldenberg allowed first trimester abortion of a fetus which would be born with a deformity that would cause it to suffer, and termination of a fetus with a lethal fetal defect such as Tay-Sachs disease up to the end of the second trimester of gestation… due entirely to the psychological sequelae to the mother.

    Rabbi Y. Zilberstein, Emek Halacha, Assia, Vol. 1, 1986, pp. 205-209 allows abortion in cases of possible maternal suicidality…

    Rabbi Y. Zilberstein in Nishmat Avraham Choshen Mishpat, 425:1 (19) permits abortion in case of ancephaly..

    Rav Yaakov Emden allows abortion of an out-of-wedlock fetus due entirely to the psychological sequelae to the mother- Sheleat Yavetz 43

    Rabbi Feldman allows for severe anguish. 1974, p. 292

    Talmud Yoma 85b, also 85a (Tosefos):
    If a woman is mentally ill, and the illness is likely to worsen as a result of continued pregnancy, the pregnancy may be terminated if her mental deterioration is likely to threaten her life. Permission for abortion does not require a certainty that continued pregnancy will endanger her life. It is sufficient for the doctor to fear a possibility. In other words, if there is a reasonable supposition that continued pregnancy might increase the danger to her life, the pregnancy may be terminated.

    But look, I’m sure that the very knowledgeable commenters on this site know more halacha than these gedolim. They probably have learned all of shas, since they have time to waste on computer shtusim.

  16. And as for those here who are not ashamed to align themselves with the likes of Scott Roeder, please know Scott does not differentiate between halachically permitted abortion and the rest.

    That means that if, C”V your mother or wife needs a 3rd trimester abortion with the recommendation of a rav, she will have considerably more difficulty getting one now thanks to your hero, Scott Roeder.

  17. Not Bubby,

    I understand why you sound sarcastic- it is never appropriate to call someone an “idiot”.

    At the same time, the laws involving such a serious matter as possible murder are serious indeed, and it doesn’t fall into the realm of “heter”, as in “some rabbis allow it”. Certainly, as I have explained above, ending the life of an unborn is sometimes necessary. Mandy was mistaken in her understanding of it, though, and it is important that we recognize the gravity of matters such as these.

  18. Some of Mandy’s “choshuve rabbonim” that “matir abortion” for the “mental health” of the mother are revered figures such as Rabbi Hillary O’Connor of Temple Emanu-El and Rabbi Michelle Berg of the Hebrew Union College.

  19. Rav Moshe Feinstein cleary says that abortion is a form of murder.

    See Igros Moshe, Choshen Mishpat II: 69B.

    Abortion is permitted only if there is a direct threat to the life of the mother by carrying the fetus to term or through the act of childbirth. (Rambam Mishneh Torah, Laws of Murder 1:9; Gemorah Sanhedrin 72B)

    Nevertheless, as explained in the Mishna, (Oholos 7:6) if it would be possible to save the mother by maiming the fetus, such as by amputating a limb, abortion would be forbidden.

    It is important to point out that the reason that the life of the fetus is subordinate to the mother is because the fetus is the cause of the mother’s life-threatening condition, whether directly (e.g. due to toxemia, placenta previa, or breach position) or indirectly (e.g. exacerbation of underlying diabetes, kidney disease, or hypertension).8 A fetus may not be aborted to save the life of any other person whose life is not directly threatened by the fetus, such as use of fetal organs for transplant.

    Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach (and Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth cited in English Nishmat Avraham, Choshen Mishpat, 425:11, p. 288) clearly stated that abortion is not permissible for mental illness.

    Abortion is forbidden in cases of abnormalities or deformities found in a fetus. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein rules that even amniocentesis is forbidden if it is performed only to evaluate for birth defects for which the parents might request an abortion.

  20. Rabbi Waldenberg is a da’as yachid. If you learn the Igros Moshe on abortion (CM 2:69-71), he says that he cannot understand how the Tzitz Eliezer could be matir abortion in such cases. The halacha is like Reb Moshe. In the context of a country like the US, where most of the population is gentile, the Sheva Mitzvos apply, and under the Sheva Mitzvos, goyim are not allowed to abort for ANY reason and if they do, they face the death penalty for murder, according to Rabbi Yishmoel. In addition, a Jew who aborts is chayav misa al yedei shamayim for the aveira of murder, according to the Meshech Chochmah and the Sefer Mizrachi. Like Reb Moshe, Rav Isser Yehuda Unterman, the Moshav Zekenim to Shemos 21:22, the hakdama of Rav Zolty to Ha Refuah Le Or Halacha, the Maharam Schick (Yoreh Deah #155), the Tzofnas Paneach 1:59, and the Yabia Omer (Rav Ovadia Yosef- 4:1), Rav Moshe Halberstam, Rav Yehuda Deri, and Rav Hirsch Ginsberg of the Iggud HaRabbonim all state that abortion is murder. The Zohar says that one who aborts uproots the Shechina from the world and the Chavos Yair says that one who aborts is guilty of shedding seed in vain; i.e. destroying human life. The Rabbanut says that abortion in Israel is unnecessarily delaying/impeding the Geulah. Tosfos on Chullin 33a say that even though one is not chayav misa al yedei adam for aborting, abortion is nonetheless feticide and is not permitted. The David Feldman cited above, by the way, is a Conservative clergyman who has no credibility or halachic standing whatsoever; his words are absolutely meaningless in the context of a discussion on hilchos retzichas ubarim. In addition, even for a fetus under 40 years of age, one cannot abort unless there is a direct threat to the mother’s life not caused by underlying medical conditions, but by the actual presence of the fetus itself. Medically speaking, this is a rare occurrence, as medicine has obviously advanced a great deal since the time of the Rambam, whose rodef argument is not very easy to apply as far as abortion is concerned (note how the Mishnah in Ohalos and the Rambam in Hilchos Rotzeach never mention health complications, but only talk about a situation when the mother could die during childbirth, another highly rare scenario in a developed society like ours. In addition, the Koach Shor #20 says that din rodef only applies when the rodef seeks to overtly commit an act of homicide). Mental health cannot be cited, either. With psychiatric hospitals and psychopharmacology, I highly doubt there would ever be a case in which a woman would commit suicide or murder someone else just by being pregnant; antipsychotics, electroconvulsive therapy, restraints, and antidepressants can all be safely administered in pregnancy with no risk of harm to either the mother or child. I also do not hold by the 40-day rule; Reb Moshe, Rav Unterman, and Rav Moshe Zweig hold that even in the first 40 days of pregnancy, one cannot abort unless the mother’s life is at risk. The Behag and the Rosh hold that you can be mechallel shabbos at this point in order to save the life of even an embryo younger than 40 days of age, which attributes even a baby at such a young age human status, as you can only be mechallel shabbos to save a human life. Rav Shlomo Dichovsky even holds that once conception occurs, the developing embryo has a life of its own and neither husband nor wife retain any ownership rights over this developing human life. He even assurs embryonic stem cell research on the grounds that “just as no one would justify an abortion in such circumstances, so too no one should prevent the continued development of a fertilized egg”. Rav Dichovsky concludes “in my opinion, also from a moral perspective, we do not enjoy the right to destroy a kernel of life, for whatever reason”. Rav Menashe Klein, in Ateres Shlomo, even writes that abortion is assur in the first 40 days because there is an Issur to be me’abed a chayus mesuyemes (see Ateres Shlomo, B’inyan Birur Halocho B’Din Dilul Ubarim, pg. 232). According to the Arizal, a fetus is its own entity, not a limb of its mother, and therefore, when a pregnant woman does kapparot, she must use 2 additional chickens, one male and one female in order to account for either gender of fetus (see Toras Chesed #42 for more on this).

  21. Reb Doniel: Yasher Koach. And thanks for pointing out that “The David Feldman cited above, by the way, is a Conservative clergyman who has no credibility or halachic standing whatsoever; his words are absolutely meaningless in the context of a discussion on hilchos retzichas ubarim.” The poster who quoted him as some sort of authoritative source is also conservative/reform.

  22. regarding comment # 14

    Anybody who says that someone who walked up to a doctor (who was performing a service which he was legally permitted to do) and shot him in the head is his hero is no better than the Palestinians who dance in the streets after a terrorist attack on Jews. You want to celebrate cold-blooded murder but hide it in the guise of righteousness? You’re in good company. Just maybe not in good Jewish company.

  23. I understand that there are conflicting opinions. What I cannot understand, however, is how people can be so clueless as to actually think that frum women do not have to undergo abortion procedures or that rabbonim don’t actually matir this. They have upon whom to rely and when necessary, frum women do get abortions, for medical and mental health reasons. You want to live in a little cocoon where everyone who doesn’t agree with you is automatically either a daas yachid or a conservative,(even with an orthodox smicha) be my guest. And you’ll have lots of company in your little bubble, at least until it bursts.

  24. Rabbonim also “matir” eating pork under certain circumstances. (i.e. Pikuach Nefesh.)

    This is similar. (Except abortion is a far greater sin [with a far greater punishment] than eating chazir.)

    That does not mean you can say that eating pork or performing abortions are okay. They are not, and such a statement is misleading — actually far worse than misleading.

    As far as quoting that Conservative so-called “rabbi” (David Feldman) to support your position, that is really stooping beneath the dirt.

    The bottom line for any Torah observant Jew is that abortion is Assur Min HaTorah (except in the case of Pikuach Nefesh — like the chazir-eating example.)

    As far as Scott Roeder, he killed a partial-birth abortion performer; the worst kind of abortionist/murderer that disgraces this land. If there ever was a case of justifiable homicide, this was it. George Tiller was a baby killing Nazi.

  25. The Tzitz Eliezer is a da’as yachid on this issue, Mandy. Reb Moshe says so, Rav J. D. Bleich says so, and the texts themselves prove so, as no other rabbi accepts his position on abortion. David Feldman has ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, which now ordains women and homosexuals, and he sits on the “Law committee” of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly. He is also the founder of the “Jewish Institute of Bioethics,” which describes itself as the first “Non-Orthodox” institution devoted to “Jewish bioethics.” Every temple he operated out of has mixed seating or mixed swimming. Having advanced degrees from Columbia University does NOT make one a posek, and the fact that he is so actively involved in Conservative Judaism makes him ipso facto non-Orthodox. One’s ordination means nothing- it is what they do that counts (the saintly Chofetz Chaim, zt’l, never had formal semicha). I have Orthodox semicha (yoreh yoreh yadin yadin) and have NEVER been affiliated with the Conservative Movement because I believe that Judaism should be practiced in the way it has been for thousands of years, and I also believe that dialogue with the Reform or Conservatives is as ludicrous as trying to have relations with Karaites, to quote Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik. You are misguided and misinformed, Mandy. You cannot decide what is halachic based on reading a Random House book a Conservative clergyman penned on the topic of abortion. And as someone who went through Medical School and trained in Psychiatry, Family Practice, and Obstetrics/Gynecology, I can tell you that there are very few instances in which modern medicine cannot provide adequate interventions in order to save the life of both mother and child. Rav Unterman holds that mental health is not a valid reason, and as someone who practices psychiatry, it is 100% clear that if a mother had pregnancy-related depression, or had suicidal ideation or threatened to kill someone, you do what you would do with any other patient- you hospitalize them and ensure they are on the proper medications and receiving psychotherapy. Indeed, after partial-birth abortionist George Tiller was shot, one of the country’s leading psychiatrists, Dr. Paul McHugh, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School, was asked to determine if Tiller’s patients satisfied Kansas requirement that they were likely to suffer a substantial and irreversible impairment if not allowed to abort. Dr. McHugh reviewed Tiller patient records and determined that they were not. With advances in perinatal care, few medical contraindications exist for pregnancy, a position stated by Rabbi Avraham Steinberg and corroborated by clear-cut scientific evidence. Cancer, renal, and cardiac conditions are the most cited reasons for abortion, and I can proudly say that modern medicine can effectively treat these conditions without the need to abort in the vast majority of cases. In addition, preeclampsia/toxemia, gestational diabetes, and other complications can be managed with proper diet, exercise, mind-body medicine, alternative treatments, and medication. Note that many of these complications result also from obesity and previous health conditions, which, according to the Koach Shor and Pachad Yitzchok (Yitzchok Lampronti, who was a physician in the 17th century), do not provide an adequate halachic basis for abortion. I do not live in a bubble, Mandy. I live in the Olam Hatorah, the Ivory Tower, and the Real World of Medicine. I learn Torah for 6 hours a day, I teach family medicine, psychiatry, religion, Jewish Studies, bioethics and psychology within several universities and medical schools, and I maintain an Integrative Mind-Body practice, in which I diagnose, treat, and assess my patients, including many pregnant women in the obsterics and women’s health component of my practice (I am board-certified in Psychiatry, Family Practice, Family Practice Obstetrics and Women’s Health, Family Practice Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine and Laser Surgery, Forensic Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry, and Addiction Psychiatry, and I have a PhD in Religion, a DJS in Jewish Studies, Orthodox semicha, and Masters Degrees in Biomedical Sciences, Neurobiology, Bioethics, Public Health and Complementary and Alternative Medicine. I have also completed research at the NIH and NIMH). I don’t know who you are, but I can tell you that it is you, not me, who lives in a cocoon. You live in a cocoon of ignorance. HaShem gives of His Divine Wisdom to those who seek it, and makes His will known to those who seek to know Him. This is through the study of Torah and Emunas Chachamim. You are sorely misguided and have no business calling yourself Orthodox when in your own warped perception of reality, you think that people who sit on the USCJ Rabbinical Assembly are choshuve rabbonim and poskim and that abortion gets the green light from halacha, when above, I cited at least 10 shitos demonstrating Judaism’s opposition to abortion on grounds of it being murder. Halacha also establishes that at least 2 physicians must indpendently concur that abortion is the only possible option (see the same Yabia Omer I cited in #26, as well as the Maharsham 1:13, Shevus Yaakov #5-6, and Maharash Engel 7:170), and Rav Wosner (Sheves HaLevi 5:193) says that one must be very careful in which doctor they go to since many doctors, in his view, are indiscirminately pro-abortion and in his words, belittle the need to establish an actual threat to the life of the mother as the sole reason for authorizing abortion (Judaism’s view, according to him). He cautions that such physicians will say there is a danger when it really doesn’t exist or can be properly managed without a need for abortion. A doctor or other medical professional who is asked to perform or assist an abortion on a gentile or to perform one on a Jewish woman when abortion is not absolutely needed to save her life must refuse, even if it means he/she would lose their job (Rav Auerbach, Rav Steinberg, Rav Elyashiv, Reb Moshe, Maharit, Divrei Yissocher, and Mekor Chaim all hold this way). Rav Waldenberg is again the da’as yachid who says that an anesthesiologist who assists at an abortion need not lose his job over this. And to add what I cited above, abortion, even within the first 40 days is an issur d’oraisa, according also to Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos ve Hanhagos 3:359), and the Maharash Engel (7:85 and 8:57), in addition to Reb Moshe Feinstein, Rav Unterman, and the Ateres Shlomo, R’ Menashe Klein.

  26. First of all, Conservatives don’t call their shuls “temples,” they call them shul or synagogue. I know you think you’ll reduce Conservative Jews to Reform with this terminology. Also, neither temples nor synagogues have mixed swimming. In fact, I don’t know that any of them have swimming at all. Second of all, without your actual name, I don’t believe your credentials. Anybody can speak with a voice of authority and claim to have numerous degrees and affiliations. The only thing you didn’t claim was to have won a Pulitzer, but I suspect it’s coming with your next post. Your claim of having practiced medicine in every discipline is absurd. Nobody would buy that. I just read it to a doctor friend and he burst out laughing.

    Signed, the Queen of England and the Chancellor of Harvard University

  27. There is no practical difference between the Reform and Conservatives. They are both koifrim and reshoyim. Who cares what either of them call their churches.

  28. First of all, I don’t know who your friend is, but let me make one thing clear. If you think I am going to divulge my real name in a forum like this, than maybe you should come and make an appointment to see me for some intelligence or neuropsychological testing. I do not practice every kind of medicine- I am a Family Practitioner and Psychiatrist who has completed one Double Residency at Beth Israel in Manhattan and who has spent 6 years of my career as a clinical and research fellow in 2 American Academy of Family Practice-sponsored fellowships (one in FP Obstetrics and one in FP Dermatology, the former at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx and the other most recently in San Antonio, TX, at UT Southwestern) and 3 years doing psychiatric subspecializations (studying the biopsychosocial approach to treating substance abuse disorders, pursuing advanced study in the neurological and physiological mechanisms which influence human behavior and thought patterns, and one year pursuing study in the many functions of forensic medicine- profiling criminals, handling the mental health aspects of various civil and criminal court cases, such as divorce cases, wills and estates, custody disputes, competency to stand trial, etc.) I am not trained in every medical specialty, although I do what a psychiatrist and a general practitioner do, both of which entail issues pertaining to women’s health (managing PMS/PMDD, teenage sexual activity, female sexual dysfunction, etc., all of which are psychogynecological concerns) and dermatological issues (I have a deep interest in psychocutaneous medicine, which entails the use of CBT and other modalities in addressing negative psychoemotional aspects of trichotillomania, OCD-related skin picking, acne, psoriasis, alopecia, port wine stains, and eczema, among other conditions, and is necessary, considering that research points to the fact that over 60% of dermatology patients also suffer from comorbid and often undiagnosed mental illnesses). I do not need to tell you anything about myself, anonymous (who is this doctor friend of yours? For all I know, you made the whole thing up). With the entire discussion on Judaism’s stance on abortion, you feel you need to reduce yourself to ona’as devarim and narishkeit, rather than maybe contributing to the discussion with a Tosfos or a psak halacha. I invested in my education out of a love for what I do and out of my desire to heal people on all dimensions, not just to be some two-bit Brooklyn doctor who milks the insurance companies. I have a broad education in my specialty of choice, Family Practice, which enables me to treat a wide array of psychosomatic, psychogynecological, and psychosomatic disorders, thus giving my patients the best care possible. HaShem gave me a love of learning that I cannot sublimate, and I do not need to recklessly divulge my identity on a forum like this, especially to “anonymous,” #33. I go by Reb Doniel in my community. After all, you wouldn’t give your SSN on a site like this, would you?

    I base what I say in facts. An entire book was written on the sociological and historical implications of the classic Jewish center, an institution which did double duty in post-war America as both a community center and house of worship for suburban Jewish communities, which lacked the sense of cohesiveness and ghettoization that was present in older, urban Jewish locales such as the Lower East Side and Brownsville. In fact, an entire book was written on the topic by Brandeis Professor Dr. David Kaufman, entitled “Shul With A Pool: The Synagogue-Center in American Jewish History” (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1999). So out the window goes your first objection. The Non-Orthodox Jewish Center of Teaneck where Feldman served, on its website,, proudly announces dates and times when they have mixed swimming (see the lower right hand side of the page, under athletics). The Conservative movement was created as a way to temper the radicalness of the Reform, while maintaining most of the heretical ideas of the Haskalah. They do not believe in Torah Mi Sinai, and have adopted shocking, illogical, and Anti-Torah stances on practically all issues.

    And yes, they do call their buildings temples: See the following:

    Birmingham Temple Beth-El
    Chandler Temple Beth Sholom
    Anaheim Temple Beth Emet
    Chula Vista Temple Beth Sholom
    Encino Temple Ner Maarav
    Los Angeles Temple Beth Am
    Los Angeles Sinai Temple
    Palm Springs Temple Isaiah
    Pasadena Pasadena Jewish Temple
    Woodland Hills Temple Aliyah
    Greenwich Temple Sholom
    West Hartford Beth El Temple
    Boca Raton Temple Beth Shalom
    Boynton Beach Temple Torah of W. Boynton Beach
    River Forest West Suburban Temple Har Zion
    Newton Temple Emanuel
    Newton Temple Reyim
    Randolph Temple Beth Am
    Salem Temple Shalom
    Sharon Temple Israel
    St Paul Temple of Aaron
    Manchester Temple Israel
    Nashua Temple Beth Abraham
    Portsmouth Temple Israel
    Bayonne Temple Emanu-El
    Brick Temple Beth Or
    Bridgewater Temple Sholom
    Brigantine Temple Beth Shalom
    Fair Lawn Temple Beth Sholom
    Flanders Temple Hatikvah
    Brooklyn Temple Beth El of Manhattan Beach
    Brooklyn Temple Sholom of Flatbush
    (You get the point).

    A fairly large number of Conservative buildings are called temples. The prrof is right there. In the words of Rav Avi Shafran, “the Conservatives are just 15-20 years behind the Reform.” The Reform ordained women and gays in 1972, the Conservatives do the same in 1985 and 2007. Now all we have to do is wait for the Conservatives to have intermarriage ceremonies and call kids with a Jewish father and a shiksa mother Jewish.

  29. There’s no way a psychiatrist or anybody with psychiatric training would write such long, unreadable posts. It’s totally bizarre behavior. Doing all that googling and preaching and hooey just doesn’t seem very mentally well-balanced. Do you really talk that much to answer a question? How do people possibly ever express themselves? Although, in person, I imagine you’re not googling everything in the universe. I hope.

    Some very strange posts, and certainly not containing anything that will change anybody’s mind if they know people who have been given permission by a rav to terminate a pregnancy. So maybe your beef is with Judaism itself.

    There are plenty of religions out there that expressly forbid abortion under any circumstance. Judaism isn’t one of them.

    Sorry. But don’t let that stop you from typing a long, long post, telling me about everything you’ve ever cooked or every color you’ve ever utilized in your career as fine Art painter or every first name of every patient you’ve treated along with their diagnoses and the names of their hometowns and maybe you can google the course listings at Oxford University and cut and paste them and then tell me about how you are a champion equestrian and tell me the name of every horse you’ve ridden in shows but that didn’t interfere with your learning 9 hours a day and building houses for Habitat for Humanity (don’t worry, I know you can provide me with the blueprints for every house you’ve built with Habitat for Humanity, not to mention the address of the companies that provided lumber and, oh yes, you’re also a plumber but that doesn’t interfere with the fact that you’re a Rosh Yeshiva to shape young minds because you have a Doctorate in Education and your dissertation adviser was…

  30. Reb Doniel, again, I will re-iterate that I understand that there are poskim who disagree with the sources I have cited. I wonder if you understood my point at all. Abortions do and will continue to take place in the frum community with the guidance of rabbonim. It’s all good and well that pre-eclampsia can be prevented with healthy eating, but that’s not going to help a woman who is dying.

    And as for mental health issues, let me recommend that before announcing in a public forum that “antipsychotics, electroconvulsive therapy, restraints, and antidepressants can all be safely administered in pregnancy with no risk of harm to either the mother or child”-you seriously consult with your attorney and malpractice insurance agent.

    It’s an extremely negligent statement to make in such a public manner.

  31. By the way, for another example, in the city where I grew up, Oakland, California, the Conservative congregation there is called, yes: “TEMPLE BETH ABRAHAM.”

  32. (Continuation of my above comment #18)

    (I am immensely, immensely pleased that after I posted #18, in the interm time until I could write up this sequal to it, a lot of readers posted here several excellent pieces, some of which already beautifully brought out some of what I am going to say. YASHER KOCHACHEM!! B’Ezras HaShem, I will explain it this way.)

    B’Ezras HaShem, to look at abortion, let us first look at what we think of as “regular” murder. We all agree that the Torah teaches the Mitzva that murder is completely and absolutely forbidden. It is certainly one of the very most severely horrific Aveiros in the Torah; most of human civilization views it as one of the most terrible of crimes.

    Yet, there IS a certain leniency for it. Again, we are obviously not making any “reforms,” but for certain extremely difficult situations, there is a certain leniency for it.

    So what in the world is this leniency? Again, like every leniency with every Mitzva, this leniency too HaShem teaches right there in His Torah itself: in Shemos, Parshas Mishpatim, the 19th verse in the second Aliya – Exodus, chaper 22, verse 1, see the commentary of Rashi there, which refers to the Talmud, Masecta Sanhedrin, Daf 72a.

    Yes, this leniency is taught in the Torah, and it is recognized and understood throughout human civilization. Yea, it forms one of the fundamental principles of the proper functioning of human civilization.

    1.) It is the reason why there are police in the world and why the police carry GUNS, and, if necessary, they WILL use those guns.

    2.) It is the reason why countless individual people also keep guns in their homes, and, if necessary, use those guns.

    3.) It is the reason why whole nations wage full war against each other.

    4.) It is the reason why in World War II, the Allied forces of the United States and Great Britain carried out countless air bombardment attacks on numerous German cities; specifically, starting on the evening of February 13, 1945 – the second night of Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5705, they initiated on the largest German city of Dresden a two day massive air bombardment utilizing intensive saturation of incendiary explosives. The resulting endless immense fires quickly whopped into a colossal hurricane firestorm with violent fire winds that sucked up all present oxygen and asphyxiated and flung to their deaths OVER 130,000 GERMANS, YIMACH SHEMAM V’ZICHRAM!!!!

    Was this “murder”? Oh yes!! To this very day, countless wicked people decry this “mean” “cruel” “carnage” that was done of wiping out this holy, holy German city!! Of course, according to them, it was perfectly OK the totally unprovoked massive GERMAN air assault on England and fire bombardment of London that massacred well over 50,000 civilians!! And certainly, of course, of course, of course, according to them, it was completely perfectly OK the totally unprovoked endless grid of beautiful little GERMAN “camps,” in which the very holy Germans just reveled in “enjoyment” and “pleasure” — cruel evil sadistic pleasure — to whip and torture and asphyxiate and incinerate WELL OVER SIX MILLION Bnei Yisroel and another OVER SEVEN MILLION Polish Nationalists, Russian captives, and Gypsy civilians!!!!

    This concept was clearly stated especially by the director of the bombing division of the British air force, Sir Arthur Harris: “The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. (He quotes the Tanach at Hoshea/Hosea, chapter 8, verse 7:) ‘They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.'” (See:

    5.) It is the reason why, once the Third Reich had been smashed, the United States Air Force put its full focus on its other enemy, Japan. Taking its very best top air commanders from the European war, and utilizing its brand new most advanced weapons, it unleashed on Japan wave after wave after wave of massive intense conflagration that with excruciating pain seared to death well over 500,000 Japanese!!

    Was this “murder”? Well, it is reported that while on the flight to deliver the second nuclear strike on Nagasaki, one of the bomber crewmen asked this question: “DO YOU THINK WE ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG??” In response, one of the other crewmen simply replied: “NOT IF YOU THINK ABOUT PEARL HARBOUR AND THE BATTAM DEATH MARCH!!” The President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, in his public announcement of the atomic bombings, said it even more bluntly: “THEY STARTED THIS AGGRESION IN THE PACIFIC!!!!”

    Yes, this leniency, which is called “self defense,” IS certainly one of the fundamental principles of human civilization! Again, we are not, Chas V’Shalom, committing murder; it is not, Chas V’Shalom, that murder is “permitted.” Rather, when, Chas V’Shalom, we ourselves are threatened to be murdered, then — HaShem Himself instructs us — that we are not only permitted, WE ARE OBLIGATED AND REQUIRED to do WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to completely and effectively stop the threat, even if that will mean ending the life of the wicked person attacking us.

    The exact same line of reasoning is with the level of murder called abortion. The Torah teaches that abortion is an outright level of murder, and is thus completely and absolutely forbidden; no (Torah true) rav “permits” it. However, as with most Mitzvos of the Torah, where there are certain severely difficult circumstances, specifically that there is a real threat to the life of the mother, then HaShem Himself in the Torah declares certain leniencies.

    B’Ezras HaShem, let us try to look at this in a little more detail.

  33. My pharmacist says SSRIs are contraindicated in pregnancy and antipsychotics have not shown to be safe during pregnancy. Lithium causes heart defects in the fetus for example. Most other ones are not allowed in pregnancy as well.

    At best, your comments on this are irresponsible and at worst, dangerous. If you are really a physician, which I am tending to doubt, you should be more careful.

  34. To Number 36 above,

    It is not bizarre to provide research and actual facts to prove what I say, Not doing so would make me a moron. I am very careful to back up what I say with facts because I am a logical human being. If you lack the ability to read a post that totals less than a page, maybe you have ADD. In that case, you should contact your physician or a mental health professional. My arguments against abortiona are based in Judaism. Maybe you should take it up with Reb Moshe, Rav Wosner, Rav Unterman, the Mizrachi, the Meshech Chochmah, the Koach Shor, and all of the other poskim I cited. I don’t know where you get your ideas (or lack of ideas) from, but you are misguided and foolish, and also jealous, based on your demeaning and supercilious comments that are completely irrelevant to this discussion and that constitute nothing but ona’as devarim and nivul peh. At least other posters respond here in an intelligent manner, and propose ideas that have some empirical support. You, on the other hand, are acting like a buffoon, citing falsehoods and making attempted jokes that are not funny at all.

    I never said the following: “everything you’ve ever cooked or every color you’ve ever utilized in your career as fine Art painter or every first name of every patient you’ve treated along with their diagnoses and the names of their hometowns and maybe you can google the course listings at Oxford University and cut and paste them and then tell me about how you are a champion equestrian and tell me the name of every horse you’ve ridden in shows but that didn’t interfere with your learning 9 hours a day and building houses for Habitat for Humanity (don’t worry, I know you can provide me with the blueprints for every house you’ve built with Habitat for Humanity, not to mention the address of the companies that provided lumber and, oh yes, you’re also a plumber but that doesn’t interfere with the fact that you’re a Rosh Yeshiva to shape young minds because you have a Doctorate in Education and your dissertation adviser was…”

    I also never said that Judaism is absolutely against abortion in every circumstance. What I did say is that the limited circumstances under which Judaism permits abortion are indeed quite rare, given the level of medcial care available nowadays. If abortion were ever truly necessary and if it were the only way a mother’s life can be saved, and if it fulfilled the conditions put forth by the poskim (Pachad Yitzchok, Rav Wosner, etc.), than halachically, there is no other choice. This option, however, does not change the fact that statistically, these situations are quite rare. Even according to research by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, only 4% of abortions are done in this country due to reasons of maternal health, most of which are not even life-threatening situations. (

    These are the facts. You can either choose to accept reality or ignore reality. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

  35. Yisroel Friedman, a minor point to your long post, but, in addition to the groups you mentioned, the Germans also murdered those who followed a toeivah lifestyle. I mention this because you mentioned many victims of Nazi evil, but those who followed a toeivah lifestyle were also innocent victims, murdered along side us. I know the number was smaller, but I felt they should be included on this list.

  36. I implore those of you who are reading this discussion to not listen to the medical comments offered by that “doctor.” Please, if your wives, daughters or sisters are pregnant, they must only speak to real doctors about what is safe and what isn’t safe, what can be prevented and what can’t.

    This is where the internet can be a potentially dangerous place. People can claim they are anyone and offer advice on anything. My gut tells me that, in this case, it’s better to ignore anything medical that has been said. Having a political agenda doesn’t entitle someone to offer dangerous misinformation.

  37. anonymous #42:

    Many of the top ranking Nazi’s were themselves practitioners of toeiva.

    Toeva and Nazism go hand in hand.

    Bottom Line:

    Anyone practicing abortion, or having it, bought themselves a guaranteed ticket to gehenim.

    If eternal damnation is appealing to someone, abortion is the way to go about it.

  38. #45 – Your post about Nazism and toeivah going hand in hand is so ridiculous, so offensive, so unfounded, that it immediately invalidates anything you say about abortion, politics, religion, the weather, the “sell-by” dates on milk cartons, the use of synthetic fibers in sweaters, the problems with the NYC subway system, the argument about whether parrots make good pets, the disagreement about who wrote Shakespeare’s plays, the question of whether houseplants are worth the trouble, the issue of whether beef, if lean, is a healthy meat…

  39. The misguided, cruel, and deceitful nature of anonymous is mamesh a shanda and a chillul HaShem. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry thinks he’s an expert. As I said, ignorance is bliss. People who think they know everything know nothing. I thank Rebbe, Yisroel, and others who posted substantive comments up here with actual meaning. I also thank them for posting in accordance with halacha, not with what is thought to be politically correct or feministic in nature. This is ultimately what separates Orthodoxy from the liberal denominations. I have reason to believe that Mandy and anonymous are, in fact, non-Orthodox, or at least, are on the left wing of Modern Orthodoxy, which is a travesty in and of itself, which makes them no better than Korach. You can either follow halacha or swim with the tide of liberalism that is antithetical to Torah. Anonymous, your lack of intelligence is clear. I cite hard facts for the things I say. I don’t pull things out of the air like you do, which is what makes what I say valid. You think that Conservatives call their buildings shuls and that Jewish centers don’t have pools, despite hoardes of evidence to the contrary. I wonder, what do you do for a living? Do you read books? Go and learn and then come back to us here.

  40. Reb Doniel, I’m still waiting with baited breath for some hard facts which show that “antipsychotics, electroconvulsive therapy, restraints, and antidepressants can all be safely administered in pregnancy with no risk of harm to either the mother or child.” I think I must have missed all those up-to-date, peer-reviewed, double-blind studies that you surely cited. Because, of course, you cite hard facts for the things you say.

    As for your Korach comments, it’s pretty difficult to take your exortations of civil debate seriously after those sorts of ad hominem remarks.

  41. Dr. Rocket Scientist, you do know that Anonymous isn’t somebody’s real name and that anybody can post under that name, right? Just as my next post can be under your screen name.

    Just want to make sure you understand that.

    And I teach at MIT. Thanks for asking.

  42. What do I do for a living? Much like you, I’m a doctor, a medical ethicist, a sommelier, a veterinarian, philosopher, rabbi, midwife, psychiatrist, bus driver, engineer, computer technician, librarian, champion gymnast, advertising executive, publisher, journalist, bagel maker, dog trainer, astronomer, bellhop, attorney, hair stylist, competitive chess player, saxaphonist, clockmaker, piano tuner, corrections officer, disc jockey, game warden, geneticist, karate master, woodcarver, photographer, voice coach, skydiver, realtor, perfumer, antique dealer, Ringling Brothers’ clown, cowboy, customs officer, mathematician, orthodontist, professional organizer, UN translator, weaver, upholsterer, shepherd, gondolier, copywriter, game show host, roofer, conductor (both train and orchestra) and beekeeper.

  43. Yasher Koach Reb Doniel, Yisroel Feldman, Shmuel, and Rebbe. Your posts have been halachicly (and in the case of Reb Doniel medically as well) informing.

    I appreciate the knowledge you’ve shared. It has helped me immensely in understanding this issue from both a halachic and medical perspective.

  44. Rebbe is correct. Many of Adolf Hitler’s high ranking Nazi Reichsführer’s and lieutenants were open baalei toeiva.

    One abomination leads to another. Whether it is Nazism, abortion, or toeiva.

  45. You want evidence, Mandy?

    Miller LJ. “Use of electroconvulsive therapy during pregnancy,” Journal of Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 1994 May;45(5):444-50.

    The conclusion? “Electroconvulsive therapy is a relatively safe and effective treatment during pregnancy if steps are taken to decrease potential risks.”

    (the Miller study is viewed as the most comprehensive to date on the topic).

    Einarson, A. “Use and safety of antipsychotic drugs during pregnancy,” Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 2009 May;15(3):183-92.

    The article states “To date, no definitive association has been found between use of antipsychotics during pregnancy and an increased risk of birth defects or other adverse outcomes.”

    Salgado, BR. “Risperidone safety in pregnancy:
    A case report,” Journal Actas Espanola Psiquiatria 2008;36(6):366-368.

    Dr. Salgado, a leading psychiatrist in Barcelona, writes, “Utilization of classical antipsychotics during pregnancy is
    supported by the safety demonstrated over 40 years of its clinical use4. The compounds studied most have been chlorpromazine,
    haloperidol and perfenazine, without having
    found data in favor of a greater teratogenesis or neurobehavior onsequences on the development.”

    Ramos, e. “Duration of antidepressant use during pregnancy and risk of major congenital malformations,” The British Journal of Psychiatry (2008) 192: 344-350.

    Conclusion: “These data do not support an association between duration of antidepressant use during the first trimester of pregnancy and major congenital malformations in the offspring of women with psychiatric disorders.”

    Alwan, S. “Use of Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors in Pregnancy and the Risk of Birth Defects,” New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 356:2684-2692.

    Conclusion: “Maternal use of SSRIs during early pregnancy was not associated with significantly increased risks of congenital heart defects or of most other categories of birth defects.”

    Nulman, I. “Child Development Following Exposure to Tricyclic Antidepressants or Fluoxetine Throughout Fetal Life: A Prospective, Controlled Study,” Americsn Journal of Psychiatry,159:1889-1895, November 2002.

    Conclusion: “Exposure to tricyclic antidepressants or fluoxetine throughout gestation does not appear to adversely affect cognition, language development, or the temperament of preschool and early-school children. In contrast, mothers’ depression is associated with less cognitive and language achievement by their children. When needed, adequate antidepressant therapy should be instituted and maintained during pregnancy and postpartum.”

    There are many others, but I think this is a good overview.

    Also, I NEVER posted the comment at 2:40 written under my name earlier today. Whoever wrote that is misrepresenting me and is acting fraudulently.

    Anonymous, you should ask for mechila for your ona’as devarim and downright cruelty, lies, and mean-spirited nature. There is no need for your tomfoolery and narishkeit. You may think you are a comedian, but you are mamesh a rasha. I will no longer be addressing you and your mindless dribble.

    Thank you, Shmuel, for approaching this topic with a true torah perspective. It is my honor to have shared of my knowledge with a fellow yid. My interest in abortion as a Jew and a doctor is to act and espouse an opinion that is faithful to halacha (especially Reb Moshe, whose psak I generally go by), as well as to the actual research data that exists on abortion, medicine, and psychiatry.

  46. I started researching some of your articles, Reb Doniel. You deliberately misrepresent data in a reckless, willful manner.

    The first article clearly identifies risks and notes that almost 10% of the women in the study had negative side effects. But you said there are no risks to women who take these drugs!

    The second study says, right in the abstract, that the information should not be used to assess the safety of the drugs. Somehow you forgot to mention that bit. OOPS.

    Likewise with the NEJM article, a very brief glance shows that you conveniently leave out the data associating use of SSRIs with anencephaly, craniosynostosis, and omphalocele, very serious brain and abdominal defects. OOPS.

    Other articles from the NEJM warn about serious lung defects in babies born to women who take SSRIs, so much so that the FDA has issued public health advisories on this subject.

    But you know, I really don’t have time to check all your shoddy inferences and biased data interpretation.

    You want to go on a public site and announce that there are NO RISKS for mothers and babies who take these very serious drugs? Go ahead.
    Physicians like you will keep attorneys busy and employed for years to come and that makes me happy.

  47. “Physicians like you will keep attorneys busy and employed for years to come and that makes me happy.”

    Physician? I think the correct term is “Googler.”

  48. Mandy — Why don’t you ask your conservative or reform “rabbi” Michelle Berg of the Hebrew Union College for her opinion. I’m sure she wrote some “literature” on the matter.

    No risk of side effect exceeds the risks of abortion. And that is not even considering the aspects of murdering an innocent child.

  49. The researchers reach the conclusions they reach for a reason. All I did was quote the conclusions each of these authors reached in their research. In medicine, you always weighrisks against each other. You have to consider whether untreated psychosis or the use of medications that have generally been proven to be safe are appropriate for the patient you are treating. Nothing is black and white. Sure, there are risks. Thwre are statistical risks with everything we do. However, halacha does not permit abortions under the premise that there is a 10% chance of a birth defect occurring from the use of a drug that halacha considers to be life-saving for the mother (if a mother doesn’t receive the proper medication, she is being put in danger). The other articles you cite indicate that there is dissension on these issues, which is true of many things within medicine. You are missing the point- a woman with mental health problems does not have a heter to abort, as long as she is being treated with the wide array of treatments that have been proven to be safe and effective. I have been practicing and treating pregnant women for 13 years, and have never had one complaint against me or allegations of misconduct against me. I do what I do well, and I practice from both an evidence-based and patient-centered approach. Even if deformity were to come about, although statistically rare, abortion would not be an option, according to the teshuva of R’ Moshe Zweig of Antwerp. A she’eila came to him regarding a thalidamide fetus, a fetus that had suffered deformity due to the mother’s use of Thalidomide, a sedative used in the 1960s that was intended to reduce the negative effects of pregnancy. Many birth defects resulted from this drug, including phacomelia of the arms. Rav Zweig paskened that one cannot aborta fetusdeformed from this medication, and he actually writes in the teshuva that being meikil would be a Chillul HaShem. You cannot abort on this basis,and scientifically, you cannot claim that correlation implies causation. I have had nothing but accolades about my work, and I have patients of all sorts who come for psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, couples counseling, legal expertise, psychodermatology, and for psychiatric care during pregnancy. The research is clear- there are no proven negative effects, in most cases. It truly is a balancing act, reconciling the needs of the mother and the fetus, and balancing the need to both protect the fetus against the risks of medication and protecting the mother against the risk of NOT being medicated, which can obviously be detrimental, when Axis I disorders such as MDD, Schizophrenia, Manic Depressive Disorder, and others require treatment.

  50. There can be no causal studies, as you very well know, because ethics will not allow potentially dangerous drugs to be used on studies and control groups.

    But more importantly, you write that “there is no heter.” However, if in fact, a person went to a rav and received such a heter, there then is a heter and there is nothing wrong with her making this difficult choice.

    And because there are halachik opinions that permit abortion for mental health or physical deformity, you have no moral standing to judge people who choose to follow what their rav told them. Regardless of which Rav Zweig/Feinstein/Sternbuch/Klein assurs her actions.

    That’s the way halacha works. You ask your own rav, I ask mine and we go in peace. You don’t get to explain to me that my rav mattired murder and I don’t get to explain to you that your rav is an extremist fanatic.

    I am, however, pleased that you are now choosing to own up to the fact that there are many possible risks and that it was irresponsible of you to claim there were no risks of harm at all.

  51. kagan, I suggest you read the thread again. No one is arguing that the risk of birth defects to the fetus as a result of drugs outweighs the risk of death to the fetus on abortion. That would be a rather stupid argument, wouldn’t it? However, a very incorrect medical statement about the safety of some drugs in pregnancy was made and I called attention to it, as a sidenote.

    In regard to your comments about reform and conservative Jews (and similar comments made by others), I can only say that all your yeshiva education wasn’t worth much if you can malign a group of Jews in that manner without even asking a shailah about lashon horah or ahavas yisroel.

    Or perhaps you did ask a shailah, from a “rabbi” who wrote some “literature” on the subject.

  52. Mandy — You got to be kidding. You lecturing about Ahavas Yisroel?? After you barged into this thread (in comment #6) calling several posters “ignoramuses”? And for what. For correctly pointing out that it is only permissible (per Rav Moshe in the Igros Moshe as well as just about every Orthodox posek) in the case of danger to life.

    Mandy, you need to take a self-course on Ahavas Yisroel and lashan horah.

  53. Kagan, where’s the part where you condemn Getzel #17 for calling me an idiot for making my point on #2? I mean, you’re so big on Ahavas Yisroel and lashan horah.

  54. Bubbele — I was merely pointing out Mandy’s hypocrisy of calling posters vile names, and then standing on “Ahavas Yisroel and lashan horah.” But since you brought up the subject, where’s the part where you condemn Mandy #6 for calling several posters ignoramuses?

  55. I don’t believe I was the one telling people to take courses in Ahavas Yisroel and Lashan Horah. I think you’re the holier than thou dude who only thinks AY and LH are issues when people disagree with you.

    Such hypocrisy. Love your fellow Jews! Unless, of course, they’re not Republican. Unless, of course, they support rabbinically approved abortion. Unless, of course, they’re not selling their socks for Rubashkin! Then they stink and we can say so.

    Oh, please.

  56. Mandy calls several posters ignoramuses because they hold by the cified Orthodox stances of Reb Moshe, Rav Zweig, Rav Unterman, and Rav Klein. I wonder if Mandy would consider Reb Moshe an ignoramus, since Reb Moshe Feinstein, regarded as the posek ha dor of his time, disagrees with the writings of the Conservative David Feldman and the Reform Michelle Berg, and calls abortion murder. It seems that with Mandy and other liberals, if you disagree with them, you will be disparaged. You can cite evidence perfectly, be well-educated, and provide verbatim quotes from the sources themselves, whether medical journal articles or halachos, and they will still claim that they are right and you are wrong. There is an anonymous poster here who keeps launching ludicrous attacks against me and writing about all kinds of foolishness, baseless attacks, sinas chinam,lashon hara,and ona’as devarim, since he knows next to nothing about medicine, except for the fact that he has an alleged doctor as a friend. These people have proven one thing- they are closed-minded, stubborn, and arrogant, and they will claim that they are right, despite a preponderance of evidence proving them wrong. And to top it all off, they are hurtful and mean-spirited, resorting to name-calling, fraud, deception, misrepresentation (falsely representing me), nivul peh, ona’as devarim, and outright foolishness, in the case of thr anonymous poster, who made all kinds of false accusations against me. While I do not let these things get me upset, always remember that HaShem lives and reigns, and that He watches over what we do. His seal is Truth, and the Rambam warns us to accept the Truth even if it disagrees with our own base opinions and proclivities (which in Mandy’s case, are based on the opinions of false Reform and Conservative writers). I am confident that I have done His will in my life and in my medical practice by following the halachos of Reb Moshe and the other poskim faithfully. I have no animosity towards anyone, and sadly, we cannot say the same for the anti-life posters who have reared their ugly heads here.

  57. Bubbele —

    I don’t believe I was the one telling people to take courses in Ahavas Yisroel and Lashan Horah.

    Right, it was Mandy who stood on that stool and brought that up. I pointed out her hypocrisy that you are defending.

  58. Not Bubby,

    Nobody ever mentioned politics here. Nobody mentioned Rubashkin (although every major Haredi rabbinical organization is standing behind him). Don’t confuse the issues here.

    Rabbinically-approved abortion is very rare. Halacha only allows for abortion in very limited circumstances in which it could be medically verified 100% that the fetus is truly acting as a rodef. This is exceptionally rare, granted that nowadays, great advances have been made, even in the last 15-20 years. Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Obstetric Medicine are fields, for instance, that are relatively new, and many people are unaware that there actually is a medical specialty that views the fetus as a patient in the same way as the mother. Better prenatal medical and psychiatric care logically means that under halacha, there would be very, very few instances in which abortion would be permissible. and as medical science continues to make great strides in this area, the number of instances in which abortion is truly needed to save the life of the mother would also dramatically be reduced.

  59. Kagan, I have given your point some thought.

    I am more than happy to publically apologize for defaming the knowledge level of posters on this thread on the condition that you and others retract your comments regarding reform and conservative Jews.

    Let me know.

  60. (Continuation of my above Comment #39)

    B’Ezras HaShem, let us try to study the Mishna, Mesecta Ohalos, chapter 7, Mishna 6, that states:

    “HaIsha shehee m’kashe lailaid, m’chaskin es hav’lad b’mayeha, umotzee’een oso ayvarim ayvarim, mipnay shechaiyeha kodmin l’chaiyav.”

    “A woman who is having severe difficulty giving birth, we can cut up the baby in her womb, and take him out limb by limb, because her life comes before his life.”

    “Yatza rubo, ayn nogain bo, sheayn dochin nefesh mipnei nefesh.”

    “If the major part of him (already) came out (though), we cannot touch him, for we cannot push away one soul in favor of another soul.”

    The commentary of Rashi on the Talmud, in Masecta Sanhedrin, Daf 72b, where the second part of this Mishna is quoted, explains:

    “Yatza Rosho: B’Isha ham’kashe laylayd u’msukenes; uk’tani raysha: ‘Hachiya poshetes yada v’choschaso umotzeeaso l’ayvarim,’ d’kol z’man shelo yatza l’avir haolam, lav nefesh hu, v’neetan l’horgo ul’hatzil es imo.”

    “(The case is) about a woman who is having severe difficulty giving birth and is in danger of loosing her life; and the beginning of the Mishna teaches: ‘The midwife should stick in her hand and cut him (the baby) up and and take him out limb by limb,’ because the whole time that he did not go out (yet) into the air of the world, he is not a soul, and we are given (permission) to kill him and to rescue his mother.”

    “Aval yatza rosho, ayn nogaim bo l’horgo, d’have lay k’yalud, v’ayn dochin nefesh mipnei nefesh.”

    “But if his head (already) came out, we cannot touch him to kill him, because he is like he is born, and we cannot push away one soul in favor of another soul.”

    So here we have a Mishna that deliniates the guidelines for doing an abortion.

    1.) The whole discussion is about a woman who is having severe difficulty giving birth to the point of (as Rashi mentions) that SHE IS IN DANGER OF LOOSING HER LIFE!

    2.) Even in this situation where the mother is in danger of loosing her life, the following paramiter applies. If, no part of the baby came out yet, then we ARE permitted to do an abortion. This is because (we will quote Rashi again) “the whole time that he did not go out (yet) into the air of the world, he is not a soul, and we are given (permission) to kill him and to rescue his mother.”

    When Rashi states that as long as the baby has not come outside, “he is not a soul,” this obviously DOES NOT MEAN that he is a worthless “nothing”; it does not mean like the severely wicked abortion advocates say that a featus is merely “an appendage” of the mother, and is not much more than a strand of hair on her head or a wart on her hand that she can cut off at whim. For this sentence that starts “he is not a soul,” the concluding clause is: “we are given (permission) TO KILL HIM.” Now, for cutting off a piece of hair or for cutting off a piece of a wart, we do not use the phrase “we are ‘killing’ it”! Rather, we use the phrase “we are ‘killing’ it” when what we are “killing” is an independent living entity.

    And this is what this Mishna itself states as it gives the reason why abortion is permitted here: “mipnay shechaiyeha kodmin l’chaiyav” – “because her life comes before his life.” “His life.” I repeat: “His life.” I repeat again: “HIS LIFE”!! The Mishna calls this featus, this (what the wicked promoters of abortion want to call) “worthless” “apendage” of the mother: “HIS LIFE”!! The Mishna states that this featus is a full independent “LIVING” “LIFE”!!

    It is just that here — in this severely terrible situation where the mother is in danger of loosing her life, then — “her life comes before his life.” And why does “her life comes before his life”? Because, as Rashi explains, he did not yet come out into the world and is thus not yet a “soul”; by contrast, she, the mother, obviously DID come out into the world and thus IS a “soul.” So the baby is a “life,” while the mother is a “life” AND a “soul.” So the “life” of the mother comes before his “life.”

    We certainly do need to clarify what Rashi means by saying: “the whole time that he did not go out (yet) into the air of the world, he is not a ‘soul,'” for it is well known the statements of Chazal about how HaShem puts the “soul” of a person into him RIGHT AT THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION!!

    This is not actually a question of any kind of what would appear to be any kind of a contradiction; rather, it is simply our ignorance!

    What we call and think of as the “soul” of a person, his “spiritual” essense, is an extremely, extremely complex entity with very numerous parts and levels. We know of four terms that our Torah uses to refer to various parts of what what we call a “soul”: “Nefesh,” “Ruach,” “Neshama,” and “Chaiya.”

    Chazal relate how at conception, HaShem gives the person a “Neshama.” So, from the very moment of conception, the featus is already an independent living entity with a “soul” at the level of a “Neshama.” Here, at the stage of birth when the baby begins to come out, Rashi says that this independent living entity then also attains a “soul” at the level of a “Nefesh.”

    So let us repeat — with a more “detailed” and thus more “correct” translation, the reason why, where the mother is in danger of loosing her life, “her life comes before his life.” Because, as Rashi explains, he did not yet come out into the world and is thus not yet a “soul” at the level of a “Nefesh”; by contrast, she, the mother, obviously DID come out into the world and thus IS a “soul” at the level of a “Nefesh.” So the baby is a “life,” while the mother is a “life” AND a “soul” at the level of a “Nefesh.” So the “life” of the mother comes before his “life.”

  61. (Continuation of my previous Comment #65)

    3.) Even in this situation where the mother is in danger of loosing her life, the following paramiter applies. If, the major part of the baby has already come out though, then we are NOT permitted to do an abortion. This is because, as Rashi explains, now that the baby HAS begun to come out into the world, he is like he is born, and now HE IS a “soul” at the level of a “Nefesh.” Even though, as we explained before, his mother is a “life” and a “soul” at the level of a “Nefesh,” he now IS ALSO a life AND a “soul” at the level of a “Nefesh.” So he now is on an “equal footing” with his mother! And therefore, the Mishna states: “sheayn dochin nefesh mipnei nefesh” – “for we cannot push away one soul in favor of another soul.”

    The Talmud, in Masecta Sanhedrin, Daf 72b, finds this law very suprising, for isn’t there is the rule of “self defense,” that when a person’s life is being threatened by another person, then we are supposed to save that person’s life, even if the only way to do that is by killing the other person who is making the threat?

    The Talmud answers that even though this baby that is beginning to come out is now like he is born and is now a Nefesh, whatever actions he is doing, are not his free willed decisions; rather, he is totally passive and all his actions and movements that are threatening the mother are because HaShem is making him move this way. Therefore he is not the one who is threatening the mother; instead, “D’Mishamaiya ka radfi la” – “Because from Heaven is the threat coming to her.”

    It is no different that case where a woman has a certain disease that is threatening her life; there is a cure, but to get this cure, we would have to kill someone. So we cannot kill that other person to save this one.

    The leniency of killing in self defense is where a person with his own mind is threatening the life of another person.

    When the Mishna states that once the major part of the baby has come out, then, we cannot kill him, The commentary of Rabaynu Ovadya from Bartenura explains that the intent is not that the majority of the size of the baby had to come out. Rather, as long as the head, or even just the forehead came out, we cannot kill him.

    In fact, the version of the text of the Mishna that the Talmud and Rashi in Sanhedrin quote does NOT use this phraseology of “Yatza RUBO, ayn nogain bo . . . ” – “If the MAJOR PART OF HIM (already) came out (though), we cannot touch him . . . ” Rather, the text of the Mishna that the Talmud and Rashi in Sanhedrin quote uses this phraseology: “Yatza ROSHO, ayn nogain bo . . . ” – “If HIS HEAD (already) came out (though), we cannot touch him . . . ”

    So briefly, the Mishna, and the commentaries of Rashi and Rabaynu Ovadya from Bartenura deliniate the following three guidelines for making an abortion:

    1.) Where going through with the birth is a danger to the life of the mother.

    2.) In this case of danger to the mother’s life, if the baby did not yet come out of the womb at all, then an abortion must be done.

    3.) However, even in this case of danger to the mother’s life, if the baby did already stick out even just its forehead, then an abortion cannot be done.

    We see from this last mentioned parameter, that what is called “Partial Birth Abortion” is totally forbidden, even where the birth is a danger to the mother’s life!!

    A few years ago, Boruch HaShem, the United States Congress finally approved and the then, President of the Unites States, George Walker Bush, signed into law, a law that prohibits Partial Birth Abortion. The wicked abortion people attempted to legally challenge the new law on the specific point that it did not have any provision of an exemption for cases where the mother’s life is in danger. The truth though is, L’Havdil, according to our Torah, Partial Birth Abortion is ALWAYS FORBIDDEN, and there is no “exemption” for the mother’s life in danger!!

  62. Mandy — Why is your offer to apologize to the several posters you’ve (now admittedly) defamed, conditioned on my retracting my comments regarding reform and conservative Jews? Even if I am at fault why must your victims suffer?

    Regarding reform and conservative Jews specifically, Rav Moshe, in the Igros Moshe, calls Conservative Judaism “avoda zara”, minus (heretical), and states that entry into a conservative “synagogue” is forbidden just as entry to a pagan temple would be forbidden. (By contrast, to my knowledge, entry into a house of worship of a religion that is not avoda zara – i.e. a mosque – would not be forbidden.) Rav Moshe also declares that it is not permitted to answer “amen” to a benediction uttered by a Reform Rabbi. Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik too prohibited entering a Conservative Temple.

  63. Thanks once again to Yisroel Feldman. His erudite analysis of the halachic material further makes the points I have been conveying regarding Judaism’s view of abortion.

  64. People like Mandy suffer from spiritual scotoma. They randomly attack others who disagree with them out of their refusal to consider the facts. Instead, they choose to believe lies and falsehoods. Ignorance is bliss.

  65. Reb Feldman. If you had an understanding of what partial birth abortion actually means as a procedure, you would not say it is halachically forbidden because that would contradict the mishnah in ohalos that you brought to support your position. Please learn more about the procedures before making these pronouncements. PBA is a general term and it encompasses several different procedures. The only one recently made illegal is specifically the one which involves draining of brain matter in order to deliver the fetus whole. It has nothing to do with whether the head has been delivered yet and it does not refer to only those situations where the mother is in active labor. It is perfectly legal, for example, for the infant to be chopped up into little pieces, as the mishnah suggests.

    So here is an example where the law against PBA would be detrimental to a frum Jew. If a mother’s life is in danger in her 3rd trimester and the fetus must be killed to save her life, thanks to this law, the only way that this can now occur is by having the child cut up and vacuumed out in bits and pieces. She cannot hold her dead child and she cannot bury the baby whole. This is incredibly painful for many women and it’s a shame that so many people, like yourself, have no idea what PBA involves, whom it is done for and what the reprecussions of the new federal law are.

    Kagan-I’m not sure what your post has to do with mine. If you choose to speak ill of reform and conservative Jews, there’s no particular reason for me to speak well of the people on this thread.

    Reb Doniel- your comment was irony at its best. Thank you for that moment of humor.

  66. I fully agree with Comment #7 from “Midwesterner,” that with his unfortunate major flaws, the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown, is still 100,000 times better than the Democratic candidate, State Attorney General, Martha Coakley! Mrs. Coakley had been hand picked by the wife of the late Senator Edward Moore Kennnedy to be the Democratic candidate for the special election. As Mrs. Kennedy had chosen her as the person whom she wanted to succeed her husband, it is obvious that she well knew that Mrs. Coakley has the same political philosophy as her husband and would thus do a very good job of carrying on his extreme far left liberal agenda.

    While Senator Brown does have a liberal view of abortion, he still does not encourage it. I recently heard a remark he made, which seemed very similar to a remark made by former Mayor of New York City, Rudolf Julliani.*

    Former Mayor Julliani also has a liberal view of abortion, but does not encourage it; instead, he encourages women to have unwanted children adopted. I once heard a replay of one of his speeches in which he concluded ” . . . and let’s have more adoptions and less abortions.”

    So officials like Senator Brown and former Mayor Julliani, are obviously NOT going to be liked by the severely wicked fiends at “Planned Parenthood” and other gung-ho abortion-birth-control agencies!
    *As is well known, Rudolf Julliani came into the NYC mayorship with a strong anti-crime agenda; as mayor, he thus earned high admiration for really “cleaning up” the city. He had excellent relations with the frum Jewish community, which included being a guest speaker at one of the annual dinners for Beith Medrosh Gevoha. He earned further intense admiration for exemplary leadership in leading the city to withstand and rebuild after the massive 9/11 2001 attack and massacre.

    So for the 2008 election, he tried a run for the presidency; he promoted himself as a “conservative” in his tough on crime record and being an arch hawk on military defense, war on Iraq and other terrorism, confrontation with Iran, etc. However, very unfortunately, on the social-moral/abortion-Toeiva issues, he had pretty much embraced most of the extreme liberal positions.

    Because of this, already in 2002 when he attempted to run for US Senator, the Conservative Party would not give him its endorsement. Then, in his 2008 presidential bid, moral and religious conservative groups were severely worried about what should they do if he actually would become the Republican candidate! Evidently, because of this skepticism, he had only limited wins and thus withdrew early in the primaries.

  67. Mandy — It is not I, but rather Gedolei Yisroel that have condemned the Conservative and Reform (that you are so fond of quoting to support aborting innocent babies) in no uncertain terms.

    Additionally, abortion was legal in cases where the mother’s life was in danger even prior to Roe v. Wade; and should abortion be once again made illegal in the United States you can be sure it would have an exception to allow for the mother’s life — as it would be politically untenable to institute the law otherwise as most Americans including most pro-lifers support allowing abortion when the mother’s life is in danger.

    Even the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (Pub.L. 108-105, 117 Stat. 1201, enacted November 5, 2003, 18 U.S.C. § 1531[1], PBA Ban) has a specific provision in the statue allowing PBA to be utilized in a case where the mother’s life is in danger. So you can drop that fig leaf you keep bringing up.

  68. To quote Avi Shafran:

    Moreover, in the specific context of “intact dilation and extraction” — to use The Times’ preferred nomenclature — Jewish law certainly confers no right to kill a live baby whose head, or most of whose body, has already emerged. Indeed, once birth has already occurred, Jewish law makes clear, the newborn child has no less right to live than does the mother. Stated simply, what the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act prohibits is, in the eyes of Jewish law, little if anything short of murder.

    Nothing, of course, prevents a Jew, or Jewish organization or rabbi, from ignoring the teachings of the Jewish religious tradition.

    But intellectual integrity, if nothing else, should prevent anyone from misrepresenting the content of a law, or what Jewish tradition has to say about killing an unborn child, or a born one.

  69. (Continuation of my comment #75)

    Besides what needed to be done in the recent Massachusetts election, in general, this phenomenon of “Liberal Republicans” is an extremely big problem. They term themselves “Fiscal Conservatives”; in other words, on economic issues, they promote the Republican conservative philosophy of lower taxes, less government regulation of business, less government charity programs, etc. However, on social-moral issues, either, they try to “avoid the subject,” or they actually do embrace most of the full liberal agenda.

    One of their reasons for doing this is so that they will not be viewed as being “extreme” and will thus be able to get support of “middle of the road” voters. This strategy does not work. It was right after the 1996 election; the Republican candidate, former Senator Robert Dole had run a very weak campaign, mostly on the issue of lower taxes, and had thus lost very badly to the Democratic candidate, former President William Jefferson Clinton, who thus easily won re-election. I well remember sitting at the Shabbos evening Seuda at the home of the Chabad Sh’liach in Boulder, Colorado, and we were chatting about the recent election. The Sh’liach remarked that this strategy of the Republicans is foolish; no matter how liberal they are going to make themselves, the liberals are still never going to vote for them! What is going to happen though, is that by them avoiding the “substance” issues, they are going to loose the support of the conservative people who would have voted for them!

    While the issues about the economy – about “parnassa” are, of course, extremely, extremely important, in certain ways, the “other” issues (of morality, strong military defense, etc.) are much more important!

    The talk show host of the radio program “The Savage Nation,” Michael Savage, who is severely critical of this problem, put it quite bluntly. In a tone that was obviously making fun of this Republican liberal business, he mimicked the (fiscal) Republican line:


    So Mr. Savage angrily retorts:


  70. (Continuation of my previous comment)

    Over and over again, Michael Savage stresses that he is NOT one of these people who say “Republican ‘good,’ Democrat ‘bad'”; instead, he calls himself “AN INDEPENDENT CONSERVATIVE.” If there is a Democrat who comes forth with something strong and good — obviously better than a weak minded wishy washy Republican — he will go for him!!

    He is severely annoyed at Republican politicians who have the attitude that they can be as liberal as they want, because us conservatives have “nowhere else to go” and will thus be compelled to always still vote for them. “JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE AN ‘R’ IN FRONT OF YOUR NAME MEANS WE ALLWAYS HAVE TO VOTE FOR YOU???”

    In the 2000 and 2004 elections, he did support President Bush. At the same time though, he was heavily critical of many of his policies, which he said were really that of a liberal Democrat!

    To add to the sarcasm, he related: “In the Jewish religion, there are different groups: The ‘Orthodox’: they do everything in the Bible! Then, there are many different levels of observance, until you get all the way down to the ‘Reform’: that’s like ‘Christianity’ — without a cross!!” (Then he explained what this parable is referring to.) “The Republican Party; (Senator) ‘Barry Goldwater’: he is my idea of a good solid Republican! Then (though,) you have a (Governor Nelson) ‘Rockefeller’ (type) Republican. But now, we have (President) George Bush: he is really a ‘Liberal Democrat’ — with an ‘R’ in front of his name!!!”

  71. (Continuation of my previous comment)

    Such a phenomenon understandably causes people like Savage to be extremely cynical about our political process and to thus exclaim that we have a “choice” between the “Demo-crans” and the “Republi-crats”!!

    Savage uses the parable of a choice between “Diet Coke” and “Diet Pepsi”: They are BOTH terrible poisons!!

    Many people even say much further: that both political parties are really just two parts of one group of behind the scenes sinister governmental controllers, who are manipulating events and government actions in such away as to eventually establish a one government tyrannical dictatorship over the entire world!!

    [In California, there is a great organization that is attempting to fight off the onslaught of the Toeiva and abortion people. Its name is: “Campaign for Children and Families”; its web site is: “”; its president is Randy Thomasson.] I once heard Mr. Thomasson speak on a radio show when it was still in the middle of the primaries of the 2008 election. Regarding the election decisions that people make of choosing “the lesser of the evils,” Mr. Thomasson exclaimed: “THE LESSER OF THE EVILS — IS STILL EVIL!!!” And the Bible that says that we are not supposed to do any evil! (Of course, he quoted his Christian “side” of the Bible; L’Havdil, though, we well know of numerous P’sukim of our Torah and statements of Chazal that empathetically state that we must certainly keep far away from all bad things!)

    Then, with his fullest sarcasm, he asks everyone, what would we all do if the following political scenario would have developed in the course of the 2008 election: (Like actually happened) the Democrats put up Senator Barak Obama. However, Senator Hillary Clinton, instead of JOINING WITH AND SUPPORTING Obama (like she actually did do), she would go and JOIN WITH THE REPUBLICANS!! (And because she would maybe be in favor of some kind of tax cuts, the Republicans let her into their party.) Then, not only does she join the Republican Party, she actually wins enough of those primaries and becomes THE CANDIDATE of the Republican Party!!

    So in the big national election itself, it would have been Senator Barak Obama against Senator Hillary Clinton!!

    So, Mr. Thomasson asks: “What would you do??” “Would you say to vote for Hillary Clinton, because we have to ‘stop Obama’??” “What would you do???”


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