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Daughter Wants Abortion

Daughter Wants Abortion


Dear Rachel,

My daughter is single, unemployed and just found out she is pregnant. She is twenty-one years old, a legal adult, and she has decided that she is going to have an abortion. So far nothing I have said can convince her that this is the wrong decision. Our rabbi has spoken to her about the perspective of Jewish law and philosophy, but she is dealing with this only emotionally, and I don't know how else to get through to her. My greatest fear is that if she goes through with this it will be something she will never be able to forgive herself for. It will be a regret she won't be able to fix. Is there anything I can do to help her? Anything I can do to stop this? Please help.

Distraught Mom

Dear Distraught Mom,

Watching your child in pain is extremely painful for a parent. But watching your child make a permanent and everlasting decision that is destructive is absolutely excruciating. For starters, it is vital that you try to have your daughter clarify why she doesn't want to have this baby so that you can see what the options are. If her concern is that she won't be able to care for the child, then you must help her figure out how she can provide or others can provide for the baby from an emotional and financial point of view. And there are resources that can help with this as well.

If she is not interested in keeping the baby, then perhaps she can be convinced to give her baby to a family that is desperate for children. With this, however, it is vital that her baby be placed with a Jewish family as this will be a Jewish baby. There are also organizations and resources, such as the Jewish Children's Adoption Network, and Embrace a Jewish Child, that are available to help place babies with Jewish families that are yearning for a child. At the Chai Adoption Network there is a social worker available 24 hours a day to speak with the birth mother. They can be reached by phone at 855-2-EMBRACE (855.236.2722). Their primary social worker, Renee, can also be reached via email.

One other possibility, which I realize she may not be at all interested in, would be if you would offer to adopt her baby. Perhaps if you made the offer it would help convince her that she is not alone in this and that you really are there both for her and for her baby. It will also help her realize how important this baby is to you, that this is not just her decision and something that won't affect other people, but that this is your grandchild that this is about, someone you will love and care for if she will let you.

However, the above suggestions will only be relevant if she changes her mind. And in terms of that, as you write, she needs to be emotionally convinced, not intellectually convinced. I want to share with you an email I recently received. It was from a woman who was writing about her abortion over twenty years ago. She sent her piece since she thought that perhaps someone else might be able to read it and learn from her mistakes. Perhaps if your daughter would be willing to read this she will see some of the ramifications of what she is considering, and the lifelong effects it will have on her.

The worst day of my life was waking up that day in the hospital. I had murdered my child. The pain and devastation cut me to the core. In that moment I realized I had made the most terrible mistake I could ever have made. Worse still was that I couldn't undo my decision. There was no turning back. There was no second chance. No one talked to me about options or tried to discourage me from making this decision. No one explained the horrible void within that I would feel and the regret I would experience for the rest of my life. There are so many unanswered questions that may remain so forever.

Understanding the long reaching ramifications of my choice to give up my unborn child, I would have chosen differently. Regardless that the father was an alcoholic, I see now that each soul has to make its own way. That child may have found its path away from that volatile trait. I may have grown stronger through that birth rather than the one I had nine years later.

I've wondered so many times about the son I let go, if having let that one go was the reason I never got a chance to have a son again. Were all the miscarriages, the losses of my unborn children which occurred later, the result of that decision or something more?

Clearly hindsight is 20/20, but had I truly known the impact that decision would have on the rest of my life, how it shaped my future, I would have given birth to my baby boy. I never even gave him, or myself, a chance.

I pray your daughter finds the strength to deal with this challenge and to bring this baby into the world. Please keep me posted.


"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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lucia California October 10, 2016

I love that baby It is so sad to destroy that future baby. I do not have grandchildren and will give everything to be able to adopt that baby. Please keep him/her alive. You might regret the abortion later, when you are more settled. The Mom adopting the baby is such a wonderful solution. I would have done that
myself. Good luck, lucia Reply

annonymous New Jersey October 6, 2016

Did anyone ask her how she became pregnant and I don't mean the physical side. Perhaps she was raped and this is why she feels it necessary to abort. If this is the case, if you cannot convince her to give the baby away, you might have to consider her wishes. Waiting nine months is a constant reminder of a violent act. I may not believe in abortion but I do understand why one would feel the need for it. Reply

Esther Coot Denver May 17, 2016

One of the worst thing about an abortion is the idea that it was the MOTHER's decision. Some abortion mills have a 99% "closing rate" on pregnant girls to abort the child. The clinic makes money. The women get the perforated uterus, the guilt, the breast cancers, the subsequent miscarriages, the increased all-cause death rate.
Find out what counselling this young woman has had. Who convinced her to "terminate" her pregnancy.
This slander that it was a victim's choice causes emotional devastation to many. Pro-lifers should not continue to tolerate it. Reply

Anonymous August 15, 2014

Abortion isn't always the answer My mother was barely 15 when she had me and mentally not the most stable. She went on to have 4 children and on her second marriage by 22.My father was an alcoholic.My life was not easy and I went through things I would never wish for my child to go through.I found out a few years ago that my mother was encouraged to abort me and even had someone willing to pay for it.That person told me how deeply they regretted that.Im thankful I was given a chance.I had the statistics stacked against me,but I overcame them. I think children at least deserve a chance even if its not with the biological parents.I have several family members that have been adopted and when I see how much their adopted parents love them it makes me happy.Some women don't regret it,but Ill never forget the girl I knew who did and the image of the tears she shed grieving over what she had done.It's the woman's choice,but it should be weighed very very carefully. Reply

Anonymous San Jose, CA March 26, 2012

abortion I had an abortion at 18, and I do not regret it at all. I regretted getting pregnant, and I took great care not to get pregnant again before I was marrried. All future pregnancies were planned.

It is untrue that there are resources available to help unwed mothers. A friend of mine had a baby a year ago, and she has tried and tried to get help from the father, from the government, and from her church, and none helped. She was living off the kindness of her landlord who would not evict a single mother, but then eventually had to because the rental was his livelihood. She didn't have money for food and diapers. Friends were giving her money for these things.

Having an abortion is easy because your life does not change at all. Having a baby, even if you give it away, is hard because it changes your life, sometimes in very difficult ways.

Ultimately, your daughter is the one who would be raising the child if she has it, not you. You don't get to have a say. Reply

Victoria Christine McKee Garden City, Idaho May 18, 2011

A question I hope this helps. Ask her how she will feel if this child grew up to cure cancer, or bring about the restoration of the Jerusalem Temple.Ask because this child MAY be the one.We dont know who this child is.Perhaps he or she will be the most important person this world has ever known. I wonder that every day. Did I kill the one who could have saved millions? We will never now....sad Reply

Lisa Providence, RI January 9, 2011

Daughter Wants Abortion Your daughter is 21, and you can't tell her what to do anymore. Maybe your daughter's pregnancy was an "accident" and she doesn't want the baby.

You can't force her to keep the baby if she doesn't want to. Reply

Anonymous New York, NY November 19, 2009

I realize this is a sensitive subject... But- if people are going to state that something is a FACT halachically, they need to be careful that they are stating the actual fact, rather than the "chumra"- strictest possible interpretation of the halacha- or a personal belief. It is NOT true, that abortion is outlawed by the Torah except for rape or incest. There are actually many factors that are considered. Including- stage of pregnancy, physical AND mental health of the other, etc. Unlike other religions, Judaism does NOT consider a fetus to have the same rights as a born child and therefore the same laws do not apply. There are OTHER laws that are directed to this situation. I am not a Rabbi and do not know all of the instances, but I have taken courses on this subject. And while I am NOT saying that Judaism condones abortion in all instances, I am saying that people should not rush to the assumption that it is outlawed in a particular situation. Instead, they should seek the advice of a trusted Rabbi. Reply

Debra Atlanta, GA November 5, 2009

Daughter wants abortion My heart is moved by all the testimonies. My brother wanted me to have an abortion when I left my husband. Child #2! I couldn't do it and was pressured to the point it made me sick. The day my friend was suppose to take me, I was heavy in my heart and spirit. I knew HaShem had His hand on me because I couldn't even get out of bed! When the abortion clinic was closed, I was able to rise out of bed! She is a beautiful 22 year old and let me tell you, HaShem gives life and doesn't make mistakes! Life is never a mistake! When we make a mistake, we think getting rid of it it make things better, but that is a lie. How many women suffer from the pain of that decision and I am thankful that HaShem will forgive us! Let me tell you HaShem provided every need of my 2nd daughter with an overflow of gifts, love and support - she has never gone without, even until this day! He will provide and help us! Reply

Lisa Monterey, CA November 5, 2009

Think About It Carefully I am not jewish, I am a gentile. But I have something I would like to say here. I also was unwed, extremely confused, unemployed, and pregnant at age twenty. I didn't know what to do. Something - I am not sure what - my own confusion? kept me from having an abortion. I thank G-d for that all of the time now, because I now have a son who is almost 27 years old and is my best friend in all the world. He is a wonderful, intelligent, deeply moral human being who believes strongly in G-d and has made me a better person and is making the world a better place.

It is so wonderful to feel, after many years of feeling essentially alone in the world - that there is at least one other human being who really does understand me - my adult son! I love him and my younger son - his seven year old little brother - so, so much. they are both blessings that were brought into my life. Sometimes you just don't realize at age twenty that your surprise child is going to be such a blessing. Reply

Anonymous June 12, 2009

Personal experience I also have a personal experience with abortion. I gave up a child through abortion when I was 17, at my mother and father's insistence. I don't believe it was the right decision for me, but through G-d's help, I learned to forgive myself and have had beautiful, healthy children since. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, giving up that baby that I already had so much love for. I will never forget that day or that baby. Reply

Ahuva Sunny Isles Beach, FL June 11, 2009

Thank you Emma for keeping me! I just posted a comment and I realized that I was almost aborted.

My mother also got pregnant out of wedlock. My father married her when she was 2 months pregnant and they stayed together for 11 years.

So if my mother had terminated her pregnancy I would not be here today.

Thank G-d I have had the opportunity to touch so many people's lives in all that I do. I feel very blessed and happy that my mother kept her pregnancy with me.

Even if she had given me up for adoption or not married my father, I still would be glad to be here.

I know there is a stigma for being an unwed mother. I am going through it myself.

Perhaps an option would be to move away to a place where no one knows her until she has the baby and then returns?

I don't like all those comments above citing scripture with hate and fear and horrible words/language. I don't feel that is effective in getting through to a 21 year old whatsoever! The answer must come from love without pressure. Reply

Ahuva SUnny Isles Beach, FL June 10, 2009

Unplanned pregnancy Shalom
I had an unplanned pregnancy out of wedlock and almost had an abortion. I even had permission from a dayan (Rabbinical authority) (until 40 days)! I was on my way to the doctor the day I found out I was 2 weeks pregnant when I spoke with my mom and she told me to "think about it."

I didn't want to regret it, as I have older friends who never had children and I didn't want to end up childless.

I have a beautiful baby girl and she is the best thing that EVER happened to me. I cannot imagine my life without her. It would be completely empty and devoid of meaning.

I am still not yet married and yes it is hard but FOR SURE it is WORTH IT!!!

I hope your daughter reads this. Reply

Gina jasper, arkansas, USA June 10, 2009

childless I am 45 years old and have never been pregnant. i would love to have had a child. I cannot imagine having an abortion. If someone didn't want a child they could give it to someone like me. I have seen children neglected and mistreated, and it always broke my heart because I think that could be my child and I would love that child. Please encourage her to give the baby away. There are so many childless people in this world who would love a baby. Someday she will not feel the way she does now, and at least if she gave the baby away it would have a chance.
She could give it to me.... Reply

Doug De Lange grand Rapids, MI June 8, 2009

adoption Dear Rachel;
Please pass on to all that adoption will not necessarily erase your Jewish roots. I'm old, 49 yrs in fact. I was adopted out to a christian family and brought up that way but from early on I felt within that I was Jewish. It was not an issue of "looks", I am blonde-haired and blue-eyed but HaShem brings His people back!. I converted to Judaism 18 years before my adoption records were released to me and I found out my ancestry. Reply

Anonymous June 6, 2009

Distress mom I am sorry to hear of your family struggles. I must say that I have do not feel comfortable quoting verses from the Torah or such, as we all have fallen short of moral behavior. I will say one thing: continue an open communication with you daughter. Reply

agnes forner Bevern, Germany June 5, 2009

abortion... it had happened to me and I have went through it, actually i wanted to keep it, but i had "lousy" people around me going with worldly advice. All I have seen during the abortion, the baby always tried to be secure in the womb and I had a son, it took me many years to deal with what i have done and every year the due date is my reminder of my son. My daughter was thinking of it and i told her what i went trhough all these years and she kept her baby and she is still pregnant. Reply

Debra Atlanta, GA June 5, 2009

My daughter wants an abortion Abortion is murder and killing G-d's creation. We have no right to do this. In Proverbs it states things that He hates - Prov 6:17 - 19 "shedding of innocent blood"! We have no right to take a life of another! Please, there are so many alternatives, she will regret it, believe me. Women who have abortions end up emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically scared for life! Increase rate of depression, drinking, drugs, and sexual immorality. Abortion destroys life involving 3 people - the mother, the father, and the child! Reply

Shoshana Chana Dallas, TX June 4, 2009

Really? While there is some excellent advice regarding how to approach this young woman, for anyone who believes the Torah was given to us by Hashem (G-d) to state that abortion (outside of rape or incest) is acceptable boggles the mind. It is quite clearly murder, by Torah standards. There are absolutely certain cases that would be deemed by rabbis to be extenuating, but this pregnancy does not endanger the life of the mother.

She does not have to keep her child, but she also does not have the right (by Torah law) to simply kill him/her. If adoption is best for her, then great. I personally know of childless couples, not to mention those who have already posted. However, to condone abortion for a healthy adult woman with a healthy pergnancy... only shows how deeply in Galus (exile) we really are. Reply

Anonymous June 4, 2009

daughter wants an abortion In the article and comments, no mention was made of the father. Is he (somewhat) available financially and/or emotionally or has he come and gone? If he is available perhaps he can help.

If not, this is such a deeply personal, deeply painful choice that my heart goes out to the daughter, her parents and to all the childless couples who offered to adopt the baby. However bearing a child and then giving it up to other parents would be painful to the mother and the grandmother. My best to all however this is painfully resolved Reply

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