Thursday, April 4, 2013

Steven Resnicoff on Abortion, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, and Jewish Law

Steven H. Resnicoff (DePaul University College of Law) has posted Family Planning and Government Regulation - Jewish Law Perspectives on SSRN. Here is the abstract:  Image1

Jewish law highly prizes human life. It strongly promotes human reproduction and the protection of human health. For these reasons, Jewish law generally opposes abortion. Governmental measures that would require Jews or Jewish organizations to assist or enable conduct that violates Jewish law, such as religiously impermissible abortions, would impinge on their religious freedom. In addition Jewish law usually encourages humankind’s creative use of intellect and technology to accomplish desired objectives, such as curing and preventing physical infirmities and even more so with respect to saving human life.

Jewish law authorities have manifested a much more ambivalent attitude regarding the use of modern reproductive technologies. There is a consensus that Jewish law does not require extraordinary measures be used to create human life. However, authorities are acutely sensitive to the fact that many people unable to reproduce in the traditional manner yearn to have children. Moreover, some Jewish law authorities believe that by using certain modern reproductive technologies, a person may fulfill a religious duty to procreate. Nevertheless, other authorities argue that some such technologies actually violate Jewish law. Furthermore, even if the use of particular technologies is permitted, their use, or their possible misuse, could cause considerable societal harm. 

This paper, which emerged from a conference held by the DePaul University Health Law Institute, examines these complicated issues in a way that makes the relevant Jewish precepts readily accessible.

Abortion, Assisted Reproduction, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Scholarship and Research | Permalink

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