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Nothing Immoral About IDF IVF

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As these lines are being written, Israel’s “law of continuity” is making its way through the Knesset halls, with the possibility of becoming the law of the land. The law would allow families of fallen Israeli soldiers to harvest sperm from the body of their fallen son and use it in an IVF treatment, hopefully creating life and have a grandchild from the son who died with no children. While it is not my place to tell Israelis how to run their healthcare systems or legislation, seeing other rabbis weigh in against this law on “ethical grounds” when those do not exist is appalling. Sadly, the same arguments made now to the families of fallen soldiers have been made in other settings of reproductive Halacha, in some cases causing eternal damage to those who could have born children. We cannot remain silent in the face of these misplaced arguments.

While there is no question that there are legitimate legal, halachic, public policy, and ethical dilemmas about bringing children to someone who has already died and cannot consent, other arguments made in this case have been made elsewhere, arguments that are hard to support.

Take, for example, the argument made against this law by the PUAH Institute for medical Halacha, arguing that by having such a child, one is “bringing an orphan to the world,” a hardly moral argument and one that runs against the very existence of the Jewish people. Going back to our days in Egypt, the Jewish people always had to reckon with the notion of bringing children into a world full of travesties. This was the reason Amram, the father of Moses, was famously and wrongly separated from his wife. Yet, “it is in the merit of the righteous women that our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt.” While the men opted on the side of not bringing children into a world of slavery and pain, the women recognized that taking such a position would be the end of our people. Bringing children into this world is an act of incredible hope and faith, one that has been the very essence of being Jewish. To tell someone, they may not have a child because the child will be an “orphan” is hard to justify in the face of our history. This same argument was with regard to single women having children on their own with IVF, and somehow, shockingly, one generation later, we are not seeing any kind of horrible fallout from those few “orphans” created under those circumstances.

It is appalling to see these strong moral voices who are willing to tell........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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