Monday, May 21, 2012

Jews and abortion

As has been reported here (and iterated elsewhere), Jews in the US--including Orthodox--are, on the whole, further to the left politically than white Democrats are. There are lots of varying explanations for this--Jews being yoked to the American left wing because "it represented the closest American counterpart to the forces on the left that had favored Jewish emancipation in Europe", a consequence of several centuries of urban concentration, as a vehicle for successfully pursuing a "group evolutionary strategy", and a long history of working with and for the state, just to run through a few.

Despite at least being aware of all of this, I was surprised to find how hostile Jews are towards restrictions on abortion. A recent Pew report headlined for cataloging increasing support for gun rights and same-sex marriage contains a seemingly orthogonal table at the end that tracks percentages of people who think abortion should be legal in all or most cases and those who think it should be illegal in all or most cases. Splitting 86%-11% in favor of legality, Jews are the most pro-choice of the 33 groups Pew breaks out; more so than those who have no religious affiliation, than liberal Democrats, and than those who seldom or never attend religious services.

Why? Perhaps it's as difficult for a gentile to understand this particular aspect of Jewish liberalism as it is for him to truly comprehend why the Jewish affinity for leftism generally is so strong, but the possibilities that crop up in my mind--that setting parameters on reproductive rights smacks of 'Nazism' (notwithstanding how odd a way this would be to express that), that Jewish fertility is in the toilet even though Jewish abortions are rare means that more abortions leads to a larger Jewish population share, or that the pro-life movement is preponderantly a white southern evangelical one and therefore something Jews instinctively oppose--feel kind of kooky.

27 comments:

Mike said...

I do believe that for Jews a natural aversion to White Southern evangelicals may play a part in support for abortion (they may view it as a "Christian" position). Even though as a group, Southern Evangelicals may be less Anti-Semitic, and more pro Israel than his Episcopal neighbors, at least the Episcopalians don't take their religion seriously. Southern Evangelicals really believe in the divinity of Jesus, and considering Christians as the enemy may be a hard habit to break for historical reasons.

IHTG said...

Israeli Jews don't do the anti-abortion thing, either. Here's the entirety of the Israeli anti-abortion movement, an organization that nobody had ever heard of before they put up a few billboards a couple years ago that made angry feminists take notice.

I'd say Jewish pro-abortionism (lack of anti-abortionism, really) is primarily a cultural thing, which is then merely boosted by conventional American liberalism. I have no idea why that is so.
I suspect though, that if you look at global attitudes towards abortion, the sometimes monomaniacal approach of conservative Americans is probably more unusual.

Audacious Epigone said...

IHTG,

I just picked a few fairly disparate countries from the WVS third wave and looked at how respondents gauged the justifiability of abortion. Israel comes out just a bit more pro-life than the Netherlands, but less so than Japan (somewhat surprising) and the US, and of course much less so than Mexico and Saudi Arabia. And among Jews in Israel, the sentiments are identical to those of the Dutch (with Israel's Muslim minority pulling it to the pro-life side).

Audacious Epigone said...

So Israeli views on abortion are comparable to those of Europe's most liberal (that is, you're correct--thanks!).

Anonymous said...

Jews also have a really low abortion rate. So do the Dutch. Basically they assume people would only do that if they really had to and wouldn't just be lazy scum that use it for birth control.

As for the 86 - 11 split, that sounds about like the ratio of liberal Jews to Orthodox. Used to be Orthodox were about 9% of Jews. They have more kids, so it makes sense that they could be 11% now. According to the Jewish population survey 27% of Jews under 18 are Orthodox. So we will have to see how that shapes up over time.

Steve Sailer said...

Southern Evangelicals weren't particularly opinionated on abortion until the last few decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Roman Catholic Church was the big gun on the anti-abortion side.

Another possibility is that lots of doctors are Jewish. A big argument in selling abortion to the Supreme Court in 1973 was the idea that Doctors Know Best and the government shouldn't interfere with doctors' prerogatives. This has somewhat been dropped from the history books because it doesn't fit in with the preferred feminist reading. I was surprised recently to read some old accounts that stressed this argument.

IHTG said...

So Israeli views on abortion are comparable to those of Europe's most liberal (that is, you're correct--thanks!).

Perhaps. Note however that Israel does not have "abortion on demand". You need to pass through the government-appointed "termination committee" (the true left-wing solution!).

Dan said...

I did not fully understand this.

One Jewish characteristic is supposed to be great appreciation for the value of even a single life.

That is supposedly why they were willing trade something like 1000 Palestinian prisoners including terrorists for 1 Gilad Shalit.

So how to square this with those views on abortion?

I have just learned a couple of things:
(1) Apparently some Rabbis from the middle ages have called it permissible in certain cases. Also Jewish teachings puts the life of the woman ahead of the life of the fetus. So that's the Orthodox view. You see, already among the Orthodox, it is permissible in certain circumstances.
(2) "The Talmud states that a fetus is not legally a person until it is delivered."
(Wikipedia)

So it seems like they have a flat-out different doctrine than some other faiths about when personhood begins.

I don't know if that strictly counts as liberal because even people who stick with the theology of 1000 AD could be pro-choice I guess.

More generally, one thing I've noticed about Jewish teaching is that there is 'always a way' and that there are always exceptions and special cases, right?

Dan said...

On the other hand, plenty of Rabinical scholars have said abortion is very bad too, so the reasons for the skew are probably not strictly religious. Someone looking for justification could find it in Judaism for either position.

I honestly think that the pro-choice position has literally become part of the Jewish identity for a lot of people. Otherwise I can't explain it.

Anonymous said...

considering Christians as the enemy may be a hard habit to break for historical reasons.


Eh?

That assumes you believe the Jewish version of history, which is somewhere between a distortion and a fabrication.

To paraphrase Reagan: The problem with our Jewish friends is not the things they know, it's the things they know which are not true.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/22/12 3:35 PM,

So the documented massacres, expropriations and expulsions in the medieval period never happened? I suppose you'll say next that the charges against Jacques de Molay weren't trumped up by Philip IV? Even you have to admit that that monarch was one greedy bastard.

Anonymous said...

"
(1) Apparently some Rabbis from the middle ages have called it permissible in certain cases. Also Jewish teachings puts the life of the woman ahead of the life of the fetus. So that's the Orthodox view. You see, already among the Orthodox, it is permissible in certain circumstances."


Very damned few, like to avoid death. This basically the same as the Roman Catholic position.

"On the other hand, plenty of Rabinical scholars have said abortion is very bad too, so the reasons for the skew are probably not strictly religious.

Very bad because it kills an innocent human. Again about the same view as Roman Catholic.

"Someone looking for justification could find it in Judaism for either position."

well a lying sack of crap can always find a way.

Anonymous said...

So the documented massacres, expropriations and expulsions in the medieval period never happened?


No, they happened all right.

The thing is, even with those "documented massacres, expropriations and expulsions" the average European Jew of the medieval period had a much better life than did the average European. That's the trouble with "Jewish history" - it's completely devoid of context.

By taking this incident from England in the 12th century and that incident in France in the 15th century and that other incident in Russia in the 18th century a picture of unending Jewish suffering is painted. And that painting is somewhere between a distortion and a fabrication. To be a typical Jew living in Europe sometime between 800AD and 1800AD was to enjoy a significantly better social position than that of the typical European, the overwhelming majority of whom were peasants and serfs.

Anonymous said...

Serfdom began to decline in Western Europe in the 14th century. Population decline associated with the Black Death made it more profitable for manorial lords to demand monetary rents in place of compulsory labor service. Agricultural labor still dominated, so most of those former serfs became free peasants, but some migrated to the towns and became artisans.

Meanwhile, by the 16th century, the Jewish population was no longer monolithically engaged in moneylending or other financial pursuits. Many had been reduced to traveling peddlers of secondhand goods, and it is not at all clear to me that those individuals would have been any better off than the agricultural peasants. By the 17th century (and possibly earlier), the Khmelnitsky massacres and further temporary expulsions within Habsburg domains created large numbers of itinerant homeless "luftmenschen" who traveled around parts of Germany and Eastern Europe dependent on the charity of the Jewish communities.

You're right that the narrative of unending suffering doesn't capture the whole picture, for instance the wealthy medieval financiers and the court Jews. But to say that over the millennium virtually all Jews were materially better off than the peasants is a distortion in the opposite direction.

Anonymous said...

to say that over the millennium virtually all Jews were materially better off than the peasants is a distortion in the opposite direction.


No, it is not.

You're being sent back in time. Would you rather be (A) a random Irish Catholic in Ireland at some point between 800AD and 1900AD, or (B) a random Jew in Poland at some point between 800AD and 1900AD?

The correct answer is (B).

Pick any country in Europe and over the span of a thousand years, Jews were better off than the mass of the people therein.



By the 17th century (and possibly earlier), the Khmelnitsky massacres and further temporary expulsions within Habsburg domains created large numbers of itinerant homeless "luftmenschen" who traveled around parts of Germany and Eastern Europe dependent on the charity of the Jewish communities.


Thank you. That's a fine example of the highly selective and Jew-centric Jewish interpretation of history that I'm pointing out.

First of all, what were those itinerant homeless "luftmenschen" prior to being forced out of Poland and Lithuania?

Secondly, you omit all the historical context of Khmelnytsky and boil him down to just some guy who did bad things to Jews. In fact he was part of the overall "wars of religion" sweeping throughout Europe in the wake of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. In Poland the Orthodox Russians clashed with Catholics, Jews, and Protestants.

The original version of a monument to Khmelnytsky showed the victorious general astride a horse trampling a Pole, a Jew, and a Catholic priest under its hoofs.

But in "Jewish history" what happened to non-Jews is airbrushed out of the picture, the better for Jews to wallow in their imagined victim-hood.

Anonymous said...

Serfdom began to decline in Western Europe in the 14th century.


Who's talking about Western Europe? In Eastern Europe, where the majority of Jews were located, serfdom lasted up to the mid-1800's.

Anonymous said...

Poland did not begin to accumulate large numbers of Jews until the late medieval period. Most of those Jews came from the West in the wake of expulsions decreed in various German cities and princely domains.

Audacious Epigone said...

Pick any country in Europe and over the span of a thousand years, Jews were better off than the mass of the people therein.

Lewontin's fallacy is discovered (wearing different clothes)!

Tom Bridgeland said...

So, it seems that groups who generally don't use abortion all that much are more in favor of it than groups that do? Above the examples given were Dutch and Jews. Perhaps experience with it breeds growing disgust? When abortion is all theory we can imagine the occasional case where it might be allowable, life of the mother and all that. But when it is in fact just a more grotesque form of birth control practiced by those close to us it becomes less so.

Anonymous said...

"Pick any country in Europe and over the span of a thousand years, Jews were better off than the mass of the people therein."

I will concede that materially, that may have been true for most of the period from 800-1800. Closer to 1800, itinerant peddler became one of the most common occupations. Given the poverty of my great-grandparents who hailed from that economic stratum in small Polish and Lithuanian towns, I find it hard to believe the rural peasants were much worse off.

I personally have better things to do than wallow in victimhood. However, the subject makes for an interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

Lewontin's fallacy is discovered


I'd like to point out that Lewontin's fallacy is not actually a logical fallacy along the lines of the Strawman fallacy or "begging the question" fallacy, since that seems to be the sense in which you are using it.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you'll say next that the charges against Jacques de Molay weren't trumped up by Philip IV?


I'm not sure on what basis you suppose that.

Even you have to admit that that monarch was one greedy bastard.


Most monarch's were greedy bastards. The people who had the most to fear from their greed were wealthy people, both non-Jew (like de Molay) and Jews. Jews being over-represented among the wealthy then as now, they were natural targets for greedy bastards.

Asked why he robbed banks, bank robber Willie Sutton explained "That's where the money is".

pat said...

Jews - at least Ashkenazi Jews - are smart. I oppose another Holocaust (genocide of Jews) because we need smart people. We have plenty of dummies already. But I oppose a genocide of blacks on moral grounds only. We should try to avoid a situation in which the electorate unites to kill all the black people. To avoid a genocide of blacks in any kind of permanent fashion we will need to make blacks smarter. Moral positions are too ephemeral. Ridding the republic of troublesome dummies is too much of a temptation when there is an economic downturn.

Just like the young guys who riot in the Occupy Whatever movement, I too want to reduce income inequality. I go further. I'd like to reduce the school performance inequality and the crime inequality too.

The only way to bring that about is to build a better Negro - one who thinks better. One who has a better brain. As it happens the best research clue for better brains lies in the examination of the Jewish brain.

Jewish brains and leftist Jewish politics both seem to be genetic. Everyone benefits if we can figure out just how the Jewish brain works.

Albertosaurus

bjdubbs said...

Didn't a UChicago survey find Jews are also the most promiscuous? Must be a connection. Let's say you're trying to improve genetic fitness - wouldn't abortion be one of the best ways to do that? In general less squeamishness about sex and reproduciton.

Anonymous said...

Look at all the eggheads tiptoeing 'round the truth, constructing elaborate pseudo-reasons for Jewish commitment to abortion.

Jews are fanatically pro-abortion for the same reason they are fanatically pro-immigration and pro-negro: It isn't them doing the aborting (or preventing) — it's whites.

[No, it doesn't matter that while whites practice more "safe", i.e. non-reproductive sex, blacks and latrinos do most of the aborting — NPR, with its mostly Jewish roster, puts on violin-and-tears pieces bewailing this statistic every week of the month, so here again they have both sides covered, they can be pro-abortion and anti-abortion (when it's bad for non-whites) at the same time.]

Fewer, weaker whites is and has been their mission since 1945.

"Aversion to White Southern evangelicals" — give us a break.

"Another possibility is that lots of doctors are Jewish." — more reasonable.

Amazing how you eggheads suddenly become fecklessly obtuse when it comes to yids.

Anonymous said...

Do you all ever get sick of this HBD stuff? I find it amusing, tuning in as a Jew, to your prognostications. I imagine most other Jews favor reproductive freedom because we believe women should have the right to control their bodies, just as the gentile crusader Margaret Sanger said in the twenties.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

In Israel, alongside 150,000 Jewish births each year, the official number of annual abortions is between 19,000-20,000 (mostly Jewish), and a New Family poll shows another estimated 28,000 illegal abortions.

Hitler approves.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/141715#.UmAv4VBwp14