Commenter Joseph Hertzlinger comes up with the standard social conservative objection to my position on abortion. He thinks that the understanding that the fetus is a person is a brand new idea. Well brand new in terms of human history. Read the comments at the “Joseph Hertzlinger” link to get up to date on the Jewish position on abortion. Or read this: The Jewish Position On Abortion.

In any case, the claim that a child is not a person a moment before birth and is a person a moment after birth should be taken no more seriously than the claim that the universe is six thousand years old. If we can squeeze 19th-century paleontology into Judaism, we can squeeze 19th-century embryology into Judaism.

My reply to Joseph (revised and extended):


The idea that embryology creates a new fact contradicts what Hippocrates knew 2,500 years ago. And the long interaction between the Jews and the Greeks would indicate that the Jews got the message no more than 100 years after Hippocrates proclaimed it.

The Jewish idea stems from the fact that until the baby starts exiting from the mother that it is her property. The alternative is that the mother is the property of the State when she is pregnant. The Jews have a long libertarian tradition (mostly forgotten in practice) but you can read about it in Samuel.


In fact Jesus was in part a reaffirmation of Jewish libertarianism. Which was corrupted by the Council of Nicaea. Clever those Romans.


The Christians don’t even know their own tradition. I think it is because they are ignorant of the Jewish tradition. It is why I often not so jokingly say. “Time to get back to the old time religion. If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for me.”


There is no doubt that Jesus as a learned man knew of the Hippocratic Oath. And yet in the New Testament there is not one mention of abortion. You might want to ask yourself why. Might it be that he agreed with the Jewish position?

Cross Posted at Power and Control