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Does God Favor Abortion?

by Rabbi Rami ShapiroFebruary 12, 2010
Grow

Is God in favor of abortion? Maybe so.

An article in The Tennessean newspaper told the story of a fifteen-year-old unmarried girl pregnant with triplets. The pregnancy was not going well and the girl’s life was in imminent danger. The doctors counseled abortion to save the life of the mother. The girl’s parents and their pastor argued against it. The hospital chaplain was called in, and it was he who wrote the story.

The chaplain’s role isn’t to side with either party, but to bring some comfort to the young girl facing the death of her babies at the hands of her doctors, or her own death with the blessing of her parents. The chaplain encouraged the girl and her family to place the situation in the hands of God, and not let the doctors intervene. He prayed for her, and asked God to do what was right.

God answered his prayers and aborted the lives of these three babies by causing the mother to miscarry. While abortion at the hands of medical professionals was ungodly, abortion at the hands of God was perfectly fine. What does this mean?

At the very least it means that when it comes to abortion the death of the unborn isn’t really the problem. We are talking about an all-powerful God who could have saved the babies and their mother, but chose not to. So the problem isn’t the death of the unborn but the agent of their death. If a doctor does it, it is evil; if God does it, it is good. But why can’t the doctor be an agent of God? Why can’t abortion at the hands of medical professionals be the way God saves mothers whose lives are threatened by the birth of their babies?

Is the best religion has to offer is a passive “turning matters over to God” and a simple acceptance of whatever happens as God’s will?

As a Jew and a humanist I tend to side with saving the life of the mother (though there are exceptions), but this story isn’t about that. It’s about a chaplain trusting God to do what’s right, and yet not having the courage to then argue that abortion isn’t always wrong.

Chaplains often witness such situations. Why is it these acts of God never influence their ideas about God? If they did I suspect the argument over abortion would be far more nuanced and civil.


Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Author and teacher Rabbi Rami Shapiro will lead “Walking Without, Journeying Within”—a trip to the Holy Land with S&H in fall 2018.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.

His newest book is The World Wisdom Bible.

He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."

To comment on this installment of One For the Road or submit a question, email the editors. Questions may be edited for length and clarity; all are published anonymously.


This entry is tagged with:
God1 Billion Rising For JusticeReligionSpiritualityWomen's Health

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