Most striking about Jewish tradition's treatment of abortion is the sheer number of moral and ethical issues that are addressed in hundreds of years of discussion. The difference between potential life and actual life; autonomy versus the notion that a person's body and individuality are not one's own possessions, but entrusted to a person by G-d; the importance of elevating and sanctifying sexuality - all of these issues are treated by rigorous legal thought, rather than armchair speculation. To people who see the relationship between man and G-d as bound by law and responsibility, this is profoundly satisfying.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein holds the Sydney M Irmas Adjunct Chair in Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He is the founding editor of Cross-Currents.com, a blog of Orthodox Jewish thought. Rabbi Adlerstein received his rabbinic ordination in 1977 from the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva (Rabbinical Seminary of America) in New York.