A news article is going around today about an Israel High Court decision that explains the situation BACKWARDS.
The issue: An Israeli Jewish couple became pregnant. After an ultrasound the doctors informed them that the baby would be born with severe handicaps and required significant ongoing medical care to live, and strongly recommended abortion. The Israeli Jewish couple consulted a senior religious authority, a leading rabbi, on whether an abortion would be permitted under these circumstances.
The general position of Torah Judaism on abortion is that it is only permitted where there is risk to the life of the mother because of the pregnancy.
The leading rabbi advised, assumedly after reviewing the medical details of the case to determine whether the doctors were stating that the mother’s life was at risk, that an abortion would not be permitted.
The couple’s HMO (HEALTH CARE COVERAGE GROUP) subsequently sued them (the couple – the parents) within the Israeli court system for “wrongful life”, stating that since they had recommended abortion in advance of the birth due to their evaluation that the child born would be severely disabled and require extensive and expensive medical care, they (the HMO) should not be responsible to PAY for the extensive and expensive medical care.
A lower court ruled for the couple. While the reasoning was not given, we can guess that HMO’s SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO FORCE AN ABORTION – pregnancy with associated risks to the mother and to-be-born child are part of covering human females. The HMO appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, that ruled for the HMO… because “doctors advise should be followed, not rabbis”.
…an instance of the secular system AT IT’S WORST.
Here’s the actual news article (which is focused on “rabbi’s aren’t doctors” to put it in the worst light for those with religious beliefs)…
Court: Rabbis Are Not Doctors
A couple who listened to a rabbi instead of a doctor will have to pay all expenses for care of their paralyzed child, the High Court ruled.
An Israeli couple whom the High Court ruled Wednesday took the advice of a rabbi over that of a doctor is going to have to pay all expenses for care of their paralyzed child out of pocket.
The court ruled in favor of the Meuhedet Health Fund, which refused the couple when they sought care for the child, saying that doctors had informed them that the child would be born paralyzed – and that the couple decided not to terminate the wife's pregnancy on advice of the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu z”tl.
According to the fund, a gynecologist who examined the woman told her on her first visit – very early in the pregnancy – that the child would be born with major health problems, and recommended she terminate the pregnancy. The couple then consulted with Rabbi Eliyahu, and decided to keep the child – who was born paralyzed, as diagnosed by the doctor.
The Health Fund refused to pay for care for the child, saying that it was not responsible because the parents did not take the advice of their doctor. The parents sued, claiming that the doctor had not sufficiently explained the dangers to the child, only the damage that could occur to the mother during her pregnancy.
A lower court ruled in favor of the parents, but the health fund appealed, and on Wednesday the High Court ruled in their favor. According to the court, it is unlikely that the doctor did not explain the dangers to the parents, and that they needed to be held responsible for rejecting the doctor's advice.
It should have been clear to the parents, the court said, that “a rabbi, as great as he may be in Torah and halacha, is not a doctor and not an engineer. Anyone who seeks advice from rabbis in these areas needs to be aware that they are getting a non-professional opinion."
"The rabbi, who passed away in 2010, is not to blame, but the parents who took his non-professional opinion over that of knowledgeable doctor, are.”