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Thursday, October 26, 2017 

Over-observance of Shabbat leads to loss of life in pregnancy

A Haredi woman's refusal to take a special fetus monitor at a hospital over Shabbat led to the loss of a child:
A pregnant haredi woman in her 30s arrived on Saturday at Tel Hashomer Hospital, and refused fetal monitoring since she did not want to desecrate Shabbat (the Sabbath).

The woman arrived at the hospital due to a health complication connected to her pregnancy. She claimed she felt the fetus' movements and therefore fetal monitoring was not a necessity.

Jewish law, however, allows the desecration of Shabbat if there is a threat to life, or if there may be a threat to life - including and especially the life of an unborn child. Since the woman arrived in the hospital on Shabbat, fetal monitoring would therefore absolutely be permitted unless the hospital staff deemed it entirely unnecessary. However, this woman preferred not to be monitored on Shabbat, for reasons which are unclear.

Regular fetal monitoring is standard procedure for women with high-risk pregnancies.
If she put religious beliefs ahead of the unborn's safety, that was wrong, and now look what's happened. It should serve as a lesson to all why, if you want to bear children safely, you should never refuse technology that can ensure safe birth.

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  • I'm Avi Green
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