Rabbi Dr. Fishel Szlajen doesn’t believe in abortion-on-demand, but he does believe that the Bible allows for abortion in the cases of rape and incest.
“In only one case does the Bible call for abortion: when the life of the conceptus [the unborn child] inexorably threatens that of its mother.” According to Lifesite News, Rabbi Szlajen based his argument on the Jewish law of the “rodef,” saying it allows people in certain circumstances to kill someone who is endangering the lives of others, “even when he is not aware of it.”
However, by “inexorably threatens,” he includes emotional or psychological risk, saying that this applies to pregnant women in cases of rape, when continuing the pregnancy would put them at “serious psychophysical risk.”
To commit abortion, therefore, all a woman would have to do is to claim that her pregnancy would cause her some kind of intangible psychological harm, and then it would permitted under the Rabbi’s view. According to Lifesite News, the Vatican has appointed a number of pro-abortion people to the Academy for Life:
Rabbi Fishel Szlajen is not the only new member of the Pontifical Academy to believe abortion is permissible in certain circumstances. According to The Catholic Herald, Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, who was appointed to the academy in 2017, has said the unborn child has “no human status” before 40 days. After 40 days, he argues, an unborn child has “a certain status of a human being, not full status.”
The only UK-based member of the academy, Anglican clergyman and moral theologian, Nigel Biggar, has also in the past supported legalized abortion up to 18 weeks.
According to The Catholic Herald, Biggar said in 2011 it is “not clear that a human fetus is the same kind of thing as an adult or a mature human being, and therefore deserves quite the same treatment.”
The concept of “rodef” (Hebrew: רודף, lit. “pursuer”; pl. רודפים, rodfim), in traditional Jewish law, is one who is “pursuing” another to murder him or her. According to Jewish law, such a person must be killed by any bystander after being warned to stop and refusing. The Jewish law is from he Tractate Sanhedrin in the Babylonian Talmud, which states that if one man pursuing another (innocent) man to kill him, he should be killed by a bystander and if so, the bystander would be innocent of any blood guilt.
In recent years, rodef has been used to justify the killing of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin had made unpopular concessions to the Palestinian Authority which would hypothetically endanger Jewish lives. Therefore – the more extreme have argued – the assassination of Rabin was justified because of rodef.
Ironically, the infant in their mother’s womb isn’t trying to pursue the mother and kill her. There is no malice or fault on the part of the unborn child. If rodef were correctly applied (and we are not saying it should be), the abortion ‘doctor’ could rightfully be assassinated to protect the lives of children.
Nonetheless, there is no excuse – not even rape or incest – for taking the life of an innocent child.