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Bioethics is the branch of ethics that arises from issues relating to life and death. The response of Jewish adherents to issues such as IVF, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research and suicide expresses the teachings of Judaism on bioethics. For adherents of Judaism, the most significant principle driving bioethical decisions is to follow the will of God. This demands a great reverence for human life. With close reference to Euthanasia and Abortion in the context of variant responses, we will be able to witness how the bioethical teachings of Judaism are expressed. The basic guideline to follow the will of God will guide bioethical decisions made by the Jewish adherent. They will make a decision that they believe is protective of human life and maintains the covenant with God.
Reform Jews Consider view the Torah & Talmud as ethical guidelines but emphasise a much greater role for the conscience. Conservative Jews have modernistic and liberal beliefs like Reform, yet tend to be conservative in practice. After viewing the ethical sources from which bioethical teachings are derived, we can analyse how these principles translate into modern life by looking at the responses to Euthanasia & Abortion. Abortion is the deliberate termination of a foetus. The circumstance around which it is acceptable depends on the variant and revolves around the life of the unborn baby being equal to the life of the mother. While in some cases Abortion is accepted, Judaism does not condone the act, and merely acts in the best way to fulfill God's will.
Conservative Judaism does suggest that the woman should consult the biological father. Euthanasia is the intentional ending of a person's life. Even with developments in medicine and technology, the Jewish bioethical teaching on Euthanasia has remained constant. All variants of Judaism condemn Euthanasia because they believe only God has the right to take a life. Even in extreme desperation and suffering, Jews are instructed to preserve the dignity of life. This pro-life stance by adherents reflects the teaching that humans are made in God's image (Gen 1:27) and all life is equal. Rabbi Apple of the Great Synagogue in Sydney described the prolonging of life as an unnecessary impediment on the natural process of death and God's will. Also, Halachic literature states that a Gosses does not require any means to prolong their life. The equality of life and its nature as being created in God's likeness encourages them to take an anti-euthanasia stance.
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