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Genetic Screening & Special Needs Children


Library » Miscellaneous » Health Issues » Medical Ethics | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Mrs. Danow: Hi, how can I help you?

student: what are the jewish views on prenatal genetic screening?

Mrs. Danow: Depends on the situation

Mrs. Danow: many tests have risks to the baby

Mrs. Danow: also its only worth doing if you are going to take some action that is Halachicly permissable

Mrs. Danow: Judasim believes that every soul is special and has its specific purpose in the world

student: does the jewish religion agree to aborition?

Mrs. Danow: only in cases where the mothers life may be in danger1

Mrs. Danow: believe you me, I am not just speaking

Mrs. Danow: as a mother of a child with special needs I know what I am speaking about

Mrs. Danow: Its not easy, but its not up to us to decide what is perfect

student: thats true

Mrs. Danow: and they say that each soul chooses its parents; we have been chosen for a task,

Mrs. Danow: it would be ungrateful to then refuse entry to this soul to the world

Mrs. Danow: and more then that, I am truly grateful to G-d and my son for choosing me

Mrs. Danow: I wouldnt have wanted to have prenatal tests which would only confuse me

Mrs. Danow: of course if they could do things to the baby before he is born to give him a better chance for life then its a possible option, but whatever the case, one should consult an orthodox rabbi

student: so you would not be going against your religion if you aborted a child that wasnt healthy? does that mean it varies for each individual?

Mrs. Danow: No, abortion would be a problem! I meant if they could do some operation while still in utero, like heart surgery

Mrs. Danow: if the mothers life is in danger it might be allowed to abort, since the baby is putting his mothers life in danger

Mrs. Danow: but all situations must go to an orthodox Rabbi

student: ok thankyou for your time

student: you were really helpful

Mrs. Danow: you are very welcome

Mrs. Danow: hope this is all theoretical and not an actual sad situation

Mrs. Danow: take care

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


  • 1. Editor’s note: If it is determined that the baby will be born with an illness that will definitely result in much suffering and death at an early age, abortion might be permitted and a qualified rabbi should be consulted. However, if there is only suspicion of illness, or if the illness is non-life threatening (such as Down syndrome for example), Jewish law generally prohibits abortion in this case.


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Miscellaneous » Health Issues
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