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Tel Aviv hospital sends home woman with dead fetus in her body to comply with Halacha

Here’s reason #6,432 why I have some serious problems with religion (and that’s an understatement):

Channel 2 news reported this evening [Heb] about a woman who came to the Assuta hospital in north Tel Aviv for an abortion (D&C), after a miscarriage in the second month of pregnancy. As she was being wheeled into the operating room, the staff was told to immediately halt the procedure. Why? Because of Halacha. There was no special room next to the operating room which prevents the soul of the fetus from exiting to the hospital corridors and impurifying Cohanim who might happen to be in the area. So, she was sent home with a dead fetus in her body and told to come back the next day.

According to the report, the nurses in the hospital say the hospital rabbi is very strict in this regard. In other rooms that are designated for abortions there are signs that say: “In this room a system has been installed to prevent impurifying Cohanim. When the light above the door is on it can not be open. Please wait patiently until the light goes off.”

Assuta told Channel 2 that it was all a scheduling mistake and that the woman was not in danger.

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    1. David

      Dont be a douchebag. This is a provate hospital. It’ll never happen in a public hospital. They are idiots indeed, but it’s not a common thing here. israel has gone 2000 years forward in the last 10-20 years. We still have a long way.

      Reply to Comment
      • Call me a douchebag again. I dare you. I double dare you.
        (actually, spare me. there are enough assholes on the site. we don’t need another)

        Reply to Comment
    2. Aaron

      This is stupid. Fetus doesn’t even have a soul, and if it did, and died before she came in, the soul escaped when she used the bathroom.

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      • Ayla

        wow. dude.

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    3. Siren

      Misrepresent much?? Yes, this is a DISGUSTING and horrifying story, but you fail to mention that Assuta is a private hospital chain and that this branch clearly gives their Rabbi too much power, and most importantly that would never be allowed to happen in a public Israeli hospital. By not stating these basic facts, you give the impression that Israel lets the Rabbis run our medical system. Which we don’t. (Even the much decryed “abortion panels” -which are often used as an example to prove overt religious influence in Israeli public medicine- rarely contain Rabbis: generally they comprise a single social worker who meets with the woman prior to her abortion just to check that she’s of sound mind.)

      In short: +972 is seen as a serious journal by people wanting facts to learn about the region and the practices of those who live here: The least you could do is provide said facts in some considered context.

      Reply to Comment
      • Do you also think that Channel 2 is misrepresenting? Do you see it as a serious media source?

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        • Channel 2 might well be misrepresenting the story – probably through sloppiness and poor fact-checking rather than maliciously.

          But when you run a news/comment site like this, I’d assume you’d do your own additional research before reporting a story. So what did your own investigating suggest?

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    4. Ben Waxman

      the article sounds idiotic at best.
      why does someone need an abortion after a miscarriage? and further more, after two months the body expels the embryo itself! there is nothing to abort!

      Reply to Comment
      • OK. So how about instead of being an arrogant idiot yourself, try to correct me and tell me politely what the name of the procedure is for removing a dead fetus after miscarriage. If you manage to tell me this in a more classy manner, I’ll make the correction. Otherwise, get off my channel.

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        • Arieh Kovler

          Depends. If it’s mid-term it’d usually be a D&C procedure (Dilation and cutterage). If it’s later-term, it might be an induced delivery.

          Of course, if a fetus dies late enough in pregnancy then doctors will often not do anything and wait a couple of days/weeks for it to be delivered and miscarried naturally.

          Reply to Comment
          • As you can see, it’s the same in Hebrew, which I translated. A simple error, I see no reason for you or Ben to go ape-shit over it.

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          • Ben Waxman

            after two months, there is no abortion. the embryo (that is what it is at that stage) is so small, there wouldn’t be anything to scrape out. at most there would be some bleeding and cramping and it over. there can be, in very rare cases, complications.

            miscarriages at that stage are common in women.

            Reply to Comment
        • AYLA

          interestingly, I was just signing on to politely and helpfully let you know that in English, at least in the U.S., the term ‘abortion’ is used solely for the choice to terminate a pregnancy, when the fetus is still viable. I’ve noticed that in Hebrew, there’s no difference between the term ‘miscarriage’ and ‘abortion’ (I’ve had friends tell me they’ve had three abortions without skipping a beat in their conversation before I’ve realized that they meant miscarriages), so you’ve already done some good translation. I *think* we call them DNC’s when we’re removing a dead fetus, and I don’t even know what that stands for. (I’ve noticed, before, the unfortunate fact that it also stands for Democratic National Convention, but I think most Americans don’t know the medical term, so so far I haven’t seen that exploited). Usually I think we don’t even use a term, honestly. We just say: to remove the dead fetus, to clean out the uterus… by this time people are usually pretty distraught and they don’t need many words for people to understand that on top of already losing a baby, they have to go have an unpleasant medical procedure to vacuum themselves out.

          Reply to Comment
          • Thank you, I’ll make the change.

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          • ayla

            oh! D*&*C. thanks for educating *me*!

            Reply to Comment
    5. ayla

      i’m pretty appalled by the comments here. No one seems to be thinking of this woman, and what it would be like to be in her position. Everyone is too busy perceiving Ami’s post as anti-Israel and being all pro-Israel back. I can see why this happens on this site, if I use my empathizing powers for the jerky commenters (and these really are jerky comments) as much as I use them for everyone else. It might seem, to someone who is concerned about Israel’s image, that 972 throws things up at times that make Israel look bad without much thought. The more thoughtful the post, the more thoughtful the comments, usually (some commenters are bent on thoughtlessness no matter what). But to use this post as an example, there are really two main underlying issues: a) this woman’s experience, carrying a dead fetus, going into the hospital for a physically and emotionally and perhaps spiritually unpleasant experience and being told she has to go home first and wait, and b) the reason: lack of separation of religion and state, and as some commenter noted, rabbis (often) being given too much power in Israel. If the naysayers here imagine reading this same story from a muslim country, the laws being islamic, they might share the outrage. I would encourage all of us, both 972 writers (if I may, and with respect and admiration), and commenters (with a bit less respect and admiration, but with all the empathy I can muster), to keep in mind that this is not all about making Israel look bad or look good; this is about working for a more just Israel. Now, we may disagree at times about what that means. but if we keep playing pro-anti ping pong, we’re just making a lot of noise.

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      • Ben Waxman

        Ayla, Frankly I don’t believe that the story happened as reported.

        Reply to Comment
        • If so, I think assuta would have addressed that in their reaction to channel 2. They didn’t.

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    6. Robin

      The religious wallahs hold the country by the b+++s and it has gone to their blocked heads. What needs to be done p.d.q. is separate religion from the state and let everyone live their lives as they want and not be dictated by a religious minority.

      Reply to Comment