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Viable choices

"Viable choices" Continued...

Rabbi Librach pointed out that under Jewish tradition, full funerals aren't required until a baby is 30 days old, not an indication that a baby less than 30 days old isn't a life, but a reflection of the high number of early infant deaths in the past. "This is a long-term project to sensitize the Jewish community to the reality of young life," he said. Librach isn't suggesting that Roe v. Wade should be overturned: "The concept of choice is not up for debate or reconsideration in the current American political climate. But choice itself needs to include options other than pregnancy termination. So, this is not anti-choice, this is pro-choice."

"A lot of rabbis would say it's OK to have an abortion," Pelman said. "Where's our support for them if they don't want one? ... It's a Jewish perspective to value women and to value their babies."

Read articles from past Roe v. Wade issues from our archives.

Gifts from God

Cristian Baitg/Getty Images

Not long ago, a patient presented to my office, 35 years old and pregnant with what would be her seventh child. When I told her, "Congratulations! How wonderful! Baby number seven!" tears filled her eyes.

She then told me her story. Upon learning she was pregnant with number seven at age 35, her former OB/GYN doctor did not smile or say congratulations. She immediately asked, "Do you want to abort?" and then, "You must have genetic testing." This pregnant patient clearly sensed her doctor's disapproval of a family of seven children and of another pregnancy, on purpose, at age 35. The patient left that office never to return. She and her husband were conservative Christians who viewed children as gifts from God-treasures, not burdens-celebrations, not disposable problems.

Unfortunately, hers was not an isolated event. Time and again I've cared for women who told the same story of disapproval, scowls, and the "non-directive" push to abort or to look for a "fetus" (not baby) with a "birth defect" (not handicap) in order to abort. Because these women treasured God's gift of life and rejected abortion or genetic testing, liberal OB/GYNs marginalized them as harebrained kooks who bordered on insanity.

-Matt Anderson is a Minnesota OB/GYN

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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