Prayer For Fathers Mourning An Abortion
Abortion and Judaism
Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in American politics, and since the landmark 1973 Roe v.
Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide, the issue has been a top concern by activists on both sides in assessing both Supreme Court nominees and political candidates.
The anti-abortion cause has been embraced by many religious Christian groups, including the Catholic church.
Most American Jews strongly support legalized abortion: A 2015 Pew Research Forum survey found that 83 percent of American Jews, more than any other religious group, say abortion “should be legal in all/most cases.” However, Judaism’s position on abortion is nuanced, and both principal camps in the American debate over abortion rights can claim support from Jewish texts.
Is Judaism “pro-choice” or “pro-life”?
While Judaism takes a far less stringent approach to abortion than do many pro-life denominations of Christianity, providing explicit exceptions for threats to a mother’s life and rabbinic support for terminating a pregnancy in a host of other situations, there is nonetheless broad objection to abortion in cases without serious cause. In addition, despite the consensus that abortion is permitted in cases where continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the mother, there is disagreement over just what constitutes a threat.
Jewish law does not share the belief common among abortion opponents that life begins at conception, nor does it legally consider the fetus to be a full person deserving of protections equal those accorded to human beings. In Jewish law, a fetus attains the status of a full person only at birth.
Sources in the Talmud indicate that prior to 40 days of gestation, the fetus has an even more limited legal status, with one Talmudic authority (Yevamot 69b) asserting that prior to 40 days the fetus is “mere water.
” Elsewhere, the Talmud indicates that the ancient rabbis regarded a fetus as part of its mother throughout the pregnancy, dependent fully on her for its life — a view that echoes the position that women should be free to make decisions concerning their own bodies.At the same time, feticide is prohibited by Jewish law, though there is disagreement over the exact source of this prohibition and how serious an infraction it is. Some consider it biblical in origin a verse (Genesis 9.6) that prohibits shedding the “blood of man within man” — a phrase understood to refer to a fetus.
Moreover, Judaism teaches that the body is ultimately the property of God and is merely on loan to human beings.
Multiple prohibitions in Jewish law— including prohibitions on suicide, getting tattoos and wounding oneself— collectively serve to reject the idea that individuals enjoy an unfettered right to make choices regarding their own bodies.
As a public policy matter, many of the major American Jewish organizations have been vocal in support of broadening or protecting abortion access. Orthodox organizations, however, do not support broad legal protections for abortion.
Does Jewish law ever explicitly permit abortions?
Yes, but only under very limited circumstances. The most common situation, explicitly described in the Mishnah, is where the mother’s life is imperiled by her pregnancy.
Some consider such an abortion not merely permissible, but mandatory.
However, once the baby’s head has emerged from the mother (some authorities say the majority of its body, some say merely any limb), termination is no longer allowed, since Jewish law does not permit sacrificing one life to save another.
Short of clear threats to a mother’s life, the permissibility of abortion is controversial in Jewish texts.
There are Orthodox rabbinic sources that support abortion when a mother’s health is in danger even if her life is not at risk; when a fetus is conclusively determined to suffer from severe abnormalities; when a mother’s mental health is in danger; or when the pregnancy is the result of a forbidden sexual union. However, these rulings are not universally accepted, and many Orthodox rabbis are cautious about laying down firm standards, insisting instead that cases be judged individually.
The Conservative movement is somewhat more lenient in all these cases, explicitly understanding threats to a mother’s life as extending to psychological threats to her mental well-being.
In 1983, the Conservative movement’s rabbinical authorities permitted abortion only “if a continuation of pregnancy might cause the mother severe physical or psychological harm, or when the fetus is judged by competent medical opinion as severely defective.”
The Reform movement has historically taken a similar approach. In 1958, the movement’s rabbinate determined that abortion is permitted for sake of the mother’s mental well-being if there is “strong preponderance of medical opinion that the child will be born imperfect physically, and even mentally.” In 1985, the psychological justification was explicitly extended to cases of rape and incest, while emphasizing opposition to abortion for “trivial reasons” or “on demand.” In published responsa, the movement has rejected abortion in cases where the birth might pose hardships for other family members.
At the same time, both the Reform and Conservative rabbinates have been vocal in support of keeping abortion legal and accessible.
Is abortion discussed in ancient sources?
The Torah does not address the issue directly. The principal biblical source for Jewish law on abortion is a passage in Exodus (Exodus 21:22-23) concerning a case in which two men are fighting and injure a pregnant woman, causing her to miscarry.
The verse states that if no other harm is done, the person who caused the damage must pay compensatory damages, but if there is further harm, then he should pay with his life.
The common rabbinic interpretation is that if the only harm that comes to the woman is the loss of the fetus, it is treated as a case of property damage — not murder.
The later rabbinic sources address the issue more directly, beginning with the Mishnah referenced above. Elsewhere, the Mishnah says that if a pregnant woman is sentenced to death, the execution can go forward provided she has not yet gone into labor, a further indication that Jewish law does not accord the fetus full human rights prior to birth.
What about contraception?
The strictest Jewish approach to contraception holds that any interference with pregnancy constitutes a violation of the commandment in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply.
However, there are various circumstances in which some types of birth control would be allowed by Orthodox authorities, among them threats to a woman’s emotional well-being if she were to bear children.
There is also generally more leniency to limit family size once a man has fathered at least one child of both genders. In all cases, Orthodox couples are urged to consult with a rabbi about family planning issues.The Conservative movement permits contraception provided there is “a compelling physical or emotional well-being justification.” It allows contraception for general family planning purposes, but rejects it for financial reasons or as a matter of convenience and strongly encourages Jewish couples not to delay parenthood.
Jewish law also has clear preferences about particular methods of contraception. Vasectomy is traditionally prohibited because it’s a form of sterilization, a position affirmed by the Reform movement in 1984.
Condoms are traditionally not allowed because they result in the wasting of male seed. Since the obligation to reproduce traditionally is understood to apply only to men, methods employed by women are generally less objectionable.
Hormonal contraception (“the pill”) and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are typically considered the most preferable methods, according to both Orthodox and Conservative rabbis.
Here, too, couples concerned about complying with traditional rulings are urged to consult with a rabbi, as circumstances may dictate which methods are acceptable in particular cases.
As a public policy matter, major Jewish organizations have long been in favor of broader access to reproductive health services, including contraception. Hadassah, the Anti-Defamation League and the Conservative and Reform movements have all been vocal on the issue, including filing amicus briefs in relevant court cases.
All four groups expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling that corporations are exempt from providing contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act if their owners object to such coverage on religious grounds. The Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America, in contrast, praised the ruling.
Are Jewish groups politically active on the issue of abortion?
Yes. The Reform movement has long been vocal on the issue of legal abortion and reproductive rights. In 1967, before Roe v.
Wade made abortion legal nationwide, the movement’s rabbinic association urged the “broad liberalization of abortion laws,” and explicitly mentioned cases of a mother’s endangered mental health and pregnancies resulting from sexual crimes.
The movement has reaffirmed that position multiple times over the years, while its Washington advocacy arm has been active in countering efforts to restrict abortion access.The Conservative movement’s rabbis have also adopted numerous resolutions urging abortion access, most recently in 2012 when it called on its members to support access to the “entire spectrum of reproductive healthcare” and oppose legislation conferring legal rights on fetuses.
Various non-religious Jewish groups have also been active in support of abortion access, including the National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International, Hadassah and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League have both joined amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of abortion access.
Orthodox organizations, in contrast, do not support broad legal protections for abortion. The Orthodox Union has routinely dissented from Jewish Council on Public Affairs statements supporting abortion access.
The ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel of America has also spoken out against a permissive approach to abortion, but the group has also opposed restrictive measures that don’t allow for religious exceptions.
In 2016, the organization objected to two Ohio bills restricting abortion access that did not provide exceptions for cases where a mother’s life is threatened.
Are there any Jewish organizations focused exclusively on the issue of abortion?
Yes, a Sewickley, Pennsylvania-based group called the Jewish Pro-Life Foundation, has sent people to pro-life demonstrations and offers a free “post-abortion healing program” for Jews who regret having had abortions. It also encourages people to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish for loved ones “lost through abortion,” and refers women who are pregnant to adoption agencies.
Is abortion legal in Israel?
Yes. All Israeli women seeking to terminate a pregnancy (and have it paid for through state health insurance) must appear before a three-person committee, but in practice nearly all requests are granted.
There are no laws limiting when an abortion can be performed, and a woman whose request is denied by the committee can still seek an abortion at a private clinic. Estimates are that about half the abortions performed in Israel are done in private clinics.
As of 2014, abortions were paid for entirely by the state for women aged 20 to 33, and subsidized abortions were granted for those outside that age range.Pronounced: MISH-nuh, Origin: Hebrew, code of Jewish law compiled in the first centuries of the Common Era. Together with the Gemara, it makes up the Talmud.
Pronounced: hah-lah-KHAH or huh-LUKH-uh, Origin: Hebrew, Jewish law.
Empower your Jewish discovery, daily
25 Short And Good Morning Prayers To Use On A Daily Basis
Father thank you for all you’ve done in my life
And for all the blessings that I cannot see
Morning Prayers For Strength
You know Lord, I just can’t handle it all by myselfThat’s why, I’m here asking you to strengthen my body, spirit and soul.Strengthen me in the inner manThrough the power of the Holy Spirit indwellingmy innermost being and personalityInvigorate and strengthen my bodyStrengthen my spirit that I can resist the desires of my flesh
And set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain
God, you are my strengthI’m strong in you, Oh LordIn the power of your mightAnd in the precious name Of Jesus Christ.
Morning Prayers For Protection & Safety
Father, I come before you todayTo ask You to place a hedge of protectionAround me, my family, my friends, my homemy car, my properties, my petsmy workplace, my finances
And all that You have placed me in charge over
Keep me and them all from harmProtect us on our right and on our leftDrive away darkness, danger and negativityCover me under your Mighty Wings
Go before me Lord and clear my path
In the Holy Name of Jesus, I PrayAmen
Morning Prayers Before Work
I ask you for grace, mercy,guidance and protectionI ask the same for my family
and all those around me
I declare that I love you Lordwith all my heart, with all my soul,with all my mind and with all my strength.I love my lifeI love myselfI love my family
And I love people
In Jesus’ Name
Fill me with wisdom so that I will be able to do my job properlyFill my heart with love, passion and energyHelp me to work at the best of my abilityAllow me to excel in my work and bear fruits
Enlarge my territory at work and allow me to prosper
In the Name of Jesus I pray with thanksgivingAmen
Praying For Your Children
Lord, help my children to make the right friendsLet them choose godly friends that are walking with youFriends that are smart, sober-minded and of good behavior
Friends that will have a meaningful impact in their life
Knowing that through you Oh Godall things are possible
I pray, Amen!
Dear LordToday I come to you in faith
knowing that through you all things are possible
I present my children before you and I ask you to guide themHelp them make good decisionsthat will have a positive impact on their futureEquip them for the plans you have in store for themHelp them understand the necessity ofmaking time for you in prayerLet them hear your instructive voice
and the teaching of the wise people in their lives
Give them peace of mind and boost their confidencewhile walking in this worldI pray that they would find their place in life and in society
And not wander and waste the years of their life
Help them among their friends to boldly stand up for Youbeing an example in words, in behavior, in love, in attitude,
in faith, and in purity
Lord, help my children to be good stewards of their abilities
And become the person you want them to be.
In the Holy name of Jesus
I pray, Amen!
Morning Prayers For Success
I will not walk into adversitybecause Jesus is on my side
Every misfortune will pass over
Every yoke over my life is destroyedEvery burden are now being taken away
by the power of Jesus
Any power either in the spiritual orphysical world against me shall failNo weapon formed against me shall prosper
And every tongue that rises up in judgment will be condemned
I declare, through the authority of Jesus’ nameThat my mind is filled with peaceMy heart is overflowed with love
My life is full of joy and happiness
I will survive this worldI will conquerBecause all things are possible
In Jesus, Amen!
I AM Affirmations As Morning Prayers
One more powerful way of praying is to speak positive “I AM” affirmations and declarations over yourself or your beloved ones.
This is incredibly powerful stuff. Whatever follows the words “I AM” will eventually find you. It will definitely affect your situation and your future if you believe and keep doing it as many times as possible.
Take your time and speak these affirmations out loud in a confident voice several times. While speaking, try to visualize what you’re saying as if it’s true and real right now.
3 Powerful Prayers for the Unborn
46 years ago, the Supreme Court made one of their most influential and controversial decisions to date, legalizing abortion in all 50 states in Roe v. Wade. Over 60 million babies have been aborted in the United States alone since 1973.
You can read a brief history of abortion at the National Right to Life's website. If you're pregnant and need help, you can also find pregnancy resources here. May God bring an end to this horrible, grievous massacre.
Join us in prayer for the unborn and the women considering abortion.
A Prayer about Abortion
Lord, you are the Creator of all things; you breathe life into every human before they leave the womb.
Lord, we don't know how to stop something this horrible on our own; it is devastating that abortion has weaved its way into many people's minds as an acceptable choice.
Please stop the enemy's lies from seeping into the minds of the confused, take away the voice of the wicked.Help us to have compassion on the women who made or were forced to make this horrifying choice and are now suffering the consequences.
Surround them with Your love and remind them that Your sacrifice covers even this and that those who belong to You are free in Christ from the guilt of every sin.
Break the chain of guilt in those who have repented before You, revive them to live their life knowing true joy in You. May their changed lives speak volumes about the amazing power of Your forgiveness and love.
Help us to remember the unborn who are unwanted and tossed aside every day; help us to be a light in a world of darkness.
Give us opportunities to love people and present the truth of Your Word, use us to offer alternative options to women in desperate situations.
Jesus, You have the power to change hearts; we pray for the women considering this option – help them to see there is another way.
We pray for our government to change laws and close the doors of abortion clinics. We pray for a renewal of family and faith in the world, and may the Church come alongside single parents and families in need, helping to raise these children for Christ. In your Almighty Name, Jesus, by which all things are possible. Amen.
“As the church, we must not say of abortion, 'This is murder,' without saying to the pregnant women, 'We will serve you.
' If we are doing the former without the latter, we aren't truly understanding the gospel.
We must listen, love, foster, adopt, give money, babysit, donate supplies, mentor young women, and support in whatever ways God has equipped us.” -Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church
A Prayer for Your Unborn Baby
God, you see my baby in my womb. You know her every detail, every muscle, every bone, every bit of her beautiful body, mind, heart, and soul. No matter how she is formed, she is beautiful and she is beloved by you. Grant me peace throughout this pregnancy, that I would surrender every worry or fear to you.
May I take heart, knowing you have overcome the world and made a way for us to be near to you in heaven someday and on earth here now. No matter what comes, be near, Jesus. Bring comfort and peace, bring blessed assurance. In your name, Amen.
-Excerpted from “7 Prayer for Pregnancy” by Sarah Coleman
What Does the Bible Say about the Unborn?
- “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:13-16
- “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
'” -Jeremiah 1:4-5
- “Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?” -Job 31:15
- “This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself,” -Isaiah 44:24
After all, God is the one who gave life to each of us before we were born (Job 31:15, CEV). God is the giver of life. Life is not the result of chance. It is not an accident or fluke. Life comes about because God gives. He grants life to each baby before birth.
A Prayer for the Sanctity of Life
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are Creator of all and the Giver of life. You have created humankind in your image to reflect your glory to the world, and we praise you for the work your hands have done. On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we mourn that many of your precious sons and daughters have lost their lives too soon. We grieve their absence today and every day.
We are broken people, and we have all sinned against you in so many ways, and we pray that today would be a day of repentance and forgiveness. We humbly come before you knowing that all of us have fallen short of your glory, and we ask that you would forgive us of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Restore us to right relationship with you. Open our eyes, our hearts, our minds, and our hands as we seek to serve you and glorify you through our love for one another. Transform us into new creations.May we truly be your hands and feet in our world, serving others Jesus came to serve, loving others we are to love ourselves.
Jesus, you made a way for us where there seemed to be no way. We pray today that you would breathe new life into us. We pray you would increase our empathy, compassion, and love for our neighbors, no matter their age, race, ability, background, or need. We pray we would be people whose hearts echo your own heart for your people—be our strength, Holy Spirit.
Help us to be champions of life, Jesus. Strengthen us and equip us to do your work in our communities, our nations, our world. May we stand for what you have taught us, and may we give you glory in all that we do.
We love you and praise you on this day and every day, Lord. Thank you for the gift of life. Help us to protect and preserve it in every way we can. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In your holy and mighty name, Amen.
-Excerpted from “A Prayer You Can Pray on Sanctity of Huma Life Sunday” by Rachel Dawson.
This article is part of our Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
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