Dear Jew in the City,
My cousin recently got married to an non-Jew. How can I support her even though I know she made a wrong choice?!!!
A Concerned Cousin
Dear A Concerned Cousin,
Thanks for your question and your concern, but we need to parse your words a bit, not because I believe your intentions are anything but the best, but rather to make sure that you’re approaching the situation with enough sensitivity. First let’s look at the word “wrong.” Of course you and I disagree with intermarriage since the Torah prohibits it, but talking about it in terms of “right” and “wrong” smacks of judgmentalism, which is something you need to steer clear of if you’re going to be able to sincerely support your cousin. (When I say “support” by the way, I mean it in the “be there for her” sense not in the “agree with her” sense.)
If your cousin had murdered someone, stolen from someone, cheated on someone, these are all things that fit into the moral sphere. These transgressions fall into the category of mishpatim, which are commandments that people could have figured out on their own had the Torah not been given.
There’s nothing that seems immoral about a Jew marrying a non-Jew, though. To a person with no Torah background, what could be wrong about two people who love each other wanting to share a life together? In fact, without Torah guiding one’s values, being against intermarriage might actually seem immoral and closed-minded.
Keeping with that theme, we also must consider the word “choice.” Based on the teachings of Rav Dessler, I would argue that for your average secular Jew, marrying a non-Jew is no more of a choice than equally liking chocolate and vanilla ice cream yet “choosing” chocolate over vanilla one day. What Rav Dessler explains is that there is something called a “bechira point” – a place in each person where there is a struggle and free will (choice) is exercised. A person’s bechira point has the ability to move based on knowledge and or personal growth.
For your average person, murder is not where their bechira point is, but telling a white lie probably is. So too, just like for your average secular Jew there’s no struggle about whether or not to keep Shabbos week to week – the answer is simply no – there’s most likely no struggle or choice involved in picking a spouse based on religion.
There are, however, some non-religious Jews who are strongly against inter- marriage even though they do not keep many other commandments. I was raised quite secularly, yet my parents always drilled home the message that we had to marry Jewish. Not because they’re racist, God forbid, but rather because, even as unobservant as they were, they were passionate about Jewish continuity.
Their issue with intermarriage was that it either leads to non-Jewish children (if the wife is not Jewish) or Jewishly apathetic children, as is often the case when a kid is raised with two religions or no religion. Unfortunately though, even when a Jew marries a Jew nowadays, that union often also leads to apathetically Jewish children as most Jews today have very little Jewish knowledge.
Although my parents stressed marrying Jewish, at a certain point I asked myself what’s the point of marrying a Jew if he and I live like gentiles. If we eat like your average non-Jew (I wasn’t raised kosher), dress like your average non-Jew (I wasn’t raised with any concept of modesty), and observe Shabbat and the holidays like your average non-Jew (we didn’t celebrate Shabbos and only cared about a few holidays out of the whole year).
What I realized as a teen was that simply marrying a Jew wasn’t enough. I had to both marry a Jew AND be actively engaged in Jewish life and learning in order to be able to foster the Jewish continuity that my parents care so much about. So here’s the thing – your cousin marrying a non-Jew is obviously transgressing a Torah commandment, but she’s probably transgressing many other commandments. There’s no reason to be any less supportive of her today than you ever were. As we have established, her lack of observing is not actually based on choice right now.
Ideally she would have found a Jewish guy, but since she didn’t, we work with what we have, and what we have is a Jew, just like any other Jew who can be inspired by her heritage, and who one day will give birth to Jewish children.
True, being married to a gentile could make things more complicated if she ever decides to observe more and he does not want to convert, but honestly, there are many Jewish couples where one spouse cares to be more religiously committed than the other spouse which leads to its own challenges.
I suggest that you continue your friendship and relationship just as you have before, but make an extra effort to reach out to her Jewishly – inviting her and her husband for Shabbbos and holidays. As she embarks on married life, thoughts of children will likely come to the forefront and many people, upon bringing life into the world, start to think about the bigger questions in their own lives.
Just a final point about outreach. It shouldn’t be coming from a place of “saving” her or pitying her or having her be your project (not that I have any reason to believe that you feel this way!). Jewish outreach should only come from a place of bringing two loves together.
When I first discovered Torah living and learning, I was so overwhelmed by its depth and beauty I felt that it would be selfish to keep it all to myself. How had I gone seventeen years without anyone else getting this information to me? How could I not shout it from the roof tops? I had to and did! I dragged my family, kicking and screaming. “Come learn what I’m learning. Come meet who I’m meeting. Come experience what I’m experiencing,” I pleaded with them.
They hemmed and hawed for a while – why would they want to be around those “crazy” Orthodox Jews? But I was relentless, because I wanted to bring the people that I loved to the lifestyle and learning that I loved. It was their heritage and I wanted them to get to experience it like I did before they wrote it off. When they finally agreed to open themselves up and learn, it didn’t take long before each and every one of them chose a Torah way of life too.
In closing, remember that every single mitzvah counts no matter what happens with your cousin’s marriage. Don’t look at this union as the Jewish “end” for your cousin, with your love and efforts it will only be the beginning!
All the best,
Allison (a.k.a. Jew in the City)
P.S. This answer is only applicable to someone who is already intermarried.
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I have a friend who is what you’d probably classify as a Secular Christian. She tried to set up a male friend of hers [who is an atheist] with a female friend of hers who happens to be a fairly observant Christian. Even though they hit it off pretty well as friends, the girl said she could not pursue a relationship with someone who did not share her religious belief. My friend who set them up was LIVID. She was so upset and angry that a perfectly nice relationship was being thrown away because of “religion”. I tried to explain to her that for someone who defines a significant part of who they are by what they believe and what they practice, it represents a huge incompatibility when it comes to thinking long term. The girl was just being honest about the kind of life she lives, and why this particular person could never fit into it in a romantic way. My friend kinda resigned to “Well, okay, but I think it’s stupid.”
I bring that up to further support your point that intermarriage (and how it impacts a person’s life) is dependent greatly on how much of a factor their religious observance was to their life in the first place. I was never a very observant Jew, but I wanted to marry someone that I could share that part of my life with, and I wanted that to be something to share with our children someday. I did marry Jewish, and even as it is we are still working out some of the differences (he grew up Reform, I grew up Conservative. “Shul Shopping” was interesting!) In a strange way, having a daughter has made us both more observant. Our two year old LOVES lighting the candles, and we started teaching her to sing the Sh’ma. It’s really a beautiful thing and I hope I can set a good example for her.
P.S. Every time I read “every single mitzvah counts” it makes me smile. I think every Jew out there who always felt like they were not “good enough” needs to read that every day!
An outstanding blog on a very difficult topic.
I would also add that taking JitC’s advice to invite them to shabbos dinners and holidays to show her new spouse the beauty of Judaism would be an excellent way of improving the situation. Sometimes enthusiastic non-Jews can lead their Jewish spouses back home too. It will have the added effect of including him which will make your cousin feel good and not shunned.
I love your blog/videos and find your approach refreshing and very palatable to secular Jews–a real accomplishment!
I found your answer to this difficult question thoughtful & sensitive. I agree with your advice when the issue is a Jewish female ALREADY intermarried to a non-Jewish man. Any children from this union will be Jewish which is a crucial point. Even if dad never converts, those kids may come to Teshuva someday if their experiences with Judaism are positive.
But, what about a Jewish man engaged to a non-Jewish woman? How does one (if at all) explain to them (or their parents) why their aunt/uncle/cousin etc. cannot attend? What about the Jewish man already married to a non-Jewish woman who has converted although not according to halacha? What about their children they are raising as Jews? In this scenario, how does a frum Jew deal with family functions after the marriage? What message does this send to our own young children being raised frum?
This is where things get very sticky. There’s no “one size fits all” answer. Unfortunately, it is impossible for secular Jews to understand that it does not render their spouse “inferior” and bears no reflection on their character. “Happiness” is not enough to sustain a marriage or foster Jewish continuity. There’s no way for them NOT to take it personally. At that point, the Jew becomes even more estranged from Yiddishkeit and the non-Jew becomes resentful of the frum relatives & Judaism in general.
I speak from experience. My brother has 3 sons–intermarried, about to be married or living with non-Jewish women. When the first nephew got engaged, I wrote him a strong, but very sensitive letter with salient points asking him to think through his decision. Also, his girlfriend should not be pressured into converting–it is her choice & her choice alone. My nephew did not speak to me for a year. Then, he showed up at my door one Motzei Shabbat (he lives 1,000 miles away) and started a dialogue. She decided not to convert before the wedding, but eventually did convert (as did their 2 young kids) several years later. The conversions were not al pi halacha, but good enough to satisfy my brother. I helped his wife with questions she had while studying for her conversion. She is a very impressive young woman and I am quite fond of her. She was and still is, genuinely interested in Judaism–up to a point. I explained that she should know that her & her kids conversion would not be universally recognized. The problem of course, was that although she was interested in more studying & maybe even a higher level ofobservance, my nephew was not interested in a lifestyle change.
I did not bother with the next nephew who is much older and from whom I have no relationship (his choice). The family is just thrilled that he found such a “nice” woman and that he is so “happy”.
There is rampant intermarriage in my husband’s family as well.
I’ve asked many sheilahs along the way. There’s nothing more I can do. So, we are gracious when we see them, teach our children to be polite, and experience true heartache whenever we have family functions.
Thanks for your comment, Judith. In terms of the question “what about a Jewish man engaged to a non-Jewish woman” – the answer that I gave only applies to somebody who’s *already* married. Pre-wedding, if having a heart to heart might help dissuade a Jew from going down that path, then it should certainly be attempted. But if the person is not going to be receptive, then such a conversation will only lead to anger and estrangement.
What to do in terms of the wedding of an intermarried relative? This is a question for a rabbi. There are different opinions. I think some would say for a relative you could go for Shalom Bayis (peace in the home) issues. For a non-relative, probably best to have a good excuse why you couldn’t make it. Giving rebuke to someone that isn’t open to it simply won’t end well.
In terms of family members who don’t have halachic conversions, I think the message is the same one I gave in the Q&A – do your best to expose them to traditional halachic Judaism. Do your best to show them why it’s meaningful to you. Give them a chance to learn more about it for themselves. I think the message for children will not be confusing if they understand that we love these relatives and just want them to experience what we’ve been privileged to experience. Reaching out to them doesn’t mean we condone intermarriage, chilul Shabbos or any other mitzvos they might not keep. It means that because we love what we have so much we want other people to have a chance to learn about it too.
Of course there’s heartache for all the Jews who are far from Torah, but it’s my feeling that it’s not the intermarriage that got them far from Torah. They most likely already *were* far from Torah in order that they were able to intermarry. But in most cases, most Jews don’t even know what it is they’re rejecting.
Allison, thank you for your lovely reply. My parents intermarried (Dad is Catholic, Mom is Jewish) and my maternal grandparents swallowed any reservations to welcome Dad into the family with open arms. He never converted, but my grandparents’ example left such a wonderful impression that he was very supportive when my younger brother and I decided we wanted to learn more about and practice my mother’s faith.
I ended up falling in love with a Gentile, but because of the positive example (and his own natural leanings) he is currently undergoing an Orthodox conversion. We’re excited about our new life together, and it would never had been possible had petty judgements or assumptions gotten in the way.
You are so kind, Allison. I really appreciate your words.
I had been married for 20 years to a wonderful gentile man when I decided to convert to Judaism. I could not be Orthodox due to this, because my husband is not ready to convert yet and I did not want to force him. He has always been completely supportive, though. I ended up working with a wonderful Conservative Rabbi who converted me. I am happy and we are building a Jewish home.
Thank you for your kind words and reasonable standpoint. I always read your website and tend to think very kindly of Orthodox people when I am ashamed to admit I did not in the past due to certain experiences.
Thanks, Allison, for your response.
I was posing the question of whether or not to attend an interfaith wedding as a means of discussion; we got a psak halacha on this issue the first time it came up.
Interfaith weddings are almost always on Shabbat–that makes it easy. It’s obvious that someone who intermarries is already estranged from Judaism, or they wouldn’t have dated a gentile in the first place.
In our case, all our relatives live out of town & rarely visit our city. My husband & I have a policy of not inviting non-Jewish spouses to our home, given the choice. We have seen intermarried/non-Jewish relatives at family functions and we’re gracious and friendly, but keep the conversations “parve”. We are even willing to meet outside our home. And, if any of these relatives were ever to show up on our doorstep, we would make them feel comfortable & invite them in. We would never turn them away & they know that. There have been circumstances where we’ve had intermarried relatives for dinner & they actually had a good time. We’ve invited intermarried couples to our simchas because it could have a positive effect in the future, but they have chosen not to attend. We believe, as you do, that setting a positive example of a Torah lifestyle is the single most important thing one can do. But you can’t have a relationship with someone who is not interested. Not only are the relatives not interested in Judaism, they have judged us before they’ve even gotten to know us–we’re actually a pretty nice family. They are always shocked when they see that we are intelligent, sensitive & nice people who don’t have any desire to discuss religion with them. Because we don’t go to interfaith weddings, travel on Shabbat and eat in treif restaurants, we are accused as distancing ourselves from the family. We go against the majority & because we have traditional values, it makes us “persona non-grata”. I find that in our very self centered society, tolerance only goes one way.
Thanks so much Allison, I’m married to a Catholic man who, now is having reservations of his faith. Personally, if he every considered conversion, I would do a “happy dance” inside. However, I’ve never pushed the subject. I was converted in a Reformed Temple when I was 7 years old. I consider myself a Jew. I have 2 boys and educate them privately on holidays and traditions. My stepfather’s mother, my grandmother, always tried to get me to marry “a nice Jewish boy” little did I know how significant those 4 words were. Something that you touched on up above about becoming more observant brought up the tears as, right now I am exploring my faith more right now. I admire so much of what you do. Even though I have a feeling I won’t achieve what you have achieved, I will try to the best of my abilities. Thank you so much for everything that you do.
Judith, I have to ask. You say that you don’t invite the non-Jewish spouse to spend Shabbos or Yom Tov at your home, only the Jewish spouse. Do you think the couples in question don’t notice this? I can guarantee that they do, and to be honest, if a relative thought so little of my spouse that they wouldn’t bother to invite him to a function, purely because he’s a non-Jew and independent of any other issues, I wouldn’t bother going, either. It would offend me, leave me with the assumption that those doing the inviting (or lack thereof) were closed-minded and possibly racist and interested purely in random acts of kiruv, rather than reaching out to me, as an individual, where I currently am. I also doubt that I would go out of my way to invite them to my own functions, as I would assume that they would be uncomfortable at best, hostile at worst, due to my family situation.
I understand where those decisions are coming from, but if I were the one on the receiving end, they would do more to push me away from traditional observance than pull me closer, and I suspect that I’m not unique in that regard. I should note that I feel very strongly about marrying Jewish; from a purely pragmatic standpoint when it comes to questions of religion, I can’t imagine marrying someone who’s not Jewish. But I also can’t imagine de facto shunning someone in the wake of an intermarriage, and if you’re deliberately making a point of not inviting peoples’ spouses, that’s pretty much what you’re doing.
First, you’ve made some pretty strong accusations considering you don’t even know me. There are Jews of all races, and indeed we have friends that run the gamut so I’m not sure what you meant by your remark about racism. We teach our kids that ALL people are made in the image of G-d and deserve to be treated (always & only) with the utmost of respect. And they do.
Perhaps I was not clear enough. Our relatives live far and visit our city infrequently so all this is rarely an issue. I’m not trying to do kiruv & I’m not trying to convert anyone. I’m trying to do the right thing for my family first, then others. What we do vis a vis invites depends on each situation. Our preference is to limit the exposure to intermarriage in our home b/c we feel it’s confusing to our younger children. When kids reach a certain level of maturity, it’s easier to have a dialogue about it.
We recently made a wedding & invited both Jewish and non-Jewish spouses of our relatives. Some chose to come, some didn’t. We have had mixed marriage relatives in our home, but we prefer to meet elsewhere. We are closer to some relatives than others (isn’t everyone?), having nothing to do with intermarriage.
There is a difference between accepting something and celebrating it. We accept the fact of intermarriage, those who push conversion (just to affix a label) do not. Urging someone to convert is a HUGE invasion of personal space. But, it alleviates the guilt of parents who suddenly wake up and realize that they didn’t make Judaism enough of a priority for their child to want to marry Jewish. Deep down it matters; you yourself said, “I can’t imagine marrying someone who’s not Jewish”. It obviously means something to you, I assume enough to seek out a Jewish spouse.
Today, anything goes and everyone is expected to celebrate everyone else’s choices. Those of us who lead a more traditional lifestyle are not accorded reciprocity. My family does not judge people their looks or how they choose to live their lives. But, that doesn’t mean we have to agree with their choices. Um, they certainly don’t agree with ours.
The irony is that when they do interact with us, they are genuinely surprised and impressed. They feel welcome in our home and admire the values we instill in our children. They just don’t make the connection that it’s BECAUSE we lead a Torah lifestyle that we are constantly working on our middos, especially ben adam l’chaveiro.
All we try to do is set a good example and make a kiddush H’ whenever we can.
Hi, Allison. I learned of your website from your mother-in-law, whom I know here in Pittsburgh. I’m looking forward to hearing you speak here later in the year.
I am a rather typical frum lady, leading a rather typical frum life. My two younger sons (who are both friends of your nephew Chaim) are in Jerusalem learning at yeshivas, while the eldest is finishing a BS in chemistry at Brooklyn College after having spent some years at Mir Jerusalem and his kollel year in Lakewood. He is married to a wonderful Bais Yaakov and Maalot graduate. So, you say, a very ordinary, nice, Jewish family, with nachas from our children, right? Not exactly. My husband of 34 years is a lapsed Baptist who, while he respects all religions (at least all the ones that don’t make it a positive mitzvah to kill Jews), does not wish to interact with his Creator within the confines of one. His family, who are quite devout Bible Belt evangelicals, have accepted me with great love and tolerance. Since they watch TV and see all the bad news from Israel, they do worry about having grandchildren/nephews there, but other than that they could not be more tolerant. My own family certainly accepts and respects my husband. Possibly the acceptance of our families is predicated on our having been pushing 30 when we married. They were grateful that someone would take each of us off their hands!
People should know that a marriage-like relationship between a Jewish woman and a non-Jewish man can lead to the creation of a Jewish family. (I use the word “marriage” as a convenience throughout this correspondence.) The reason I use the phrase “marriage-like relationship” is that there is no such thing as “intermarriage”. A non-Jew and a Jew are not married, period, since a Jewish marriage is based on halacha, which is non-binding upon non-Jews. My husband (for want of a better word) and I have a legal, state marriage, but we are not now and can never be considered married in any branch of Judaism. If a Jewish woman is honest with her non-Jewish intended, as I was, and tells him that he will be the father of Jewish children, and if he agrees not to interfere with their upbringing (e.g., no Christmas tree, etc.), I don’t see why it can’t work. Please bear in mind that I am a baales teshuva, raised in a militantly Reform family and in a totally non-Jewish environment, where I had no Jewish friends. I met my husband in graduate school and had dated very few Jewish guys, since there weren’t really very many around. If I had been observant back then I would not have married out. But I do suspect that my children were meant to exist, and as they could only have been born to and raised by this particular man and me, I can’t help wondering if this sin of mine was foreseen and somehow arranged, as all things are.
Nothing I write here is meant to exculpate me for living with a man who is not permitted to me, or to encourage Jews from marrying non-Jews. But as long as it is a Jewish woman marrying a non-Jewish man, provided she is strong and he is accommodating, it is not an unmitigated disaster. As to my brother and his non-Jewish wife, however… well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.
First, you’ve made some pretty strong accusations considering you don’t even know me.
I apologize if they came off that way, but they weren’t intended as accusations so much as observations based on what you said about inviting only your Jewish family members to things and not their spouses.
There are Jews of all races, and indeed we have friends that run the gamut so I’m not sure what you meant by your remark about racism.
You misunderstand my point. What I meant was that were I a non-Jew married to a Jewish person, and my Jewish spouse’s family consistently extended him invitations to X, Y and Z while deliberately not inviting me, I could only come to the conclusion that the reason I wasn’t being invited was that either I did something particularly grievous to offend the family members in question or… I’m not being invited because I’m not Jewish. I don’t see where a non-Jew would find that any less offensive than if someone was inviting their spouse to family events and not them because they happened to be black or Asian or something. I understand that that the attitudes are not the same, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect the average non-Jewish person to be aware enough of the issues to make that distinction.
That’s my only point. You say yourself that your priority is to do right by family first, others later- the implication being that these non-Jewish spouses aren’t family. I can’t help but wonder whether the folks in question might not have noticed this attitude, as well as the fact that, as you say, you do not celebrate their presence in your family. I was brought up not to force my presence on those who do not want it; if I were cognizant that one of my in-laws felt as you do, I would probably be hesitant to accept their invitations, as well, if only because I would question whether they sincerely wanted me there are were inviting me out of obligation and to keep up appearances. Conversely, if I was the Jewish spouse and was aware that my family didn’t want my non-Jewish spouse around, or that they were deliberately not inviting him to things, my reaction would probably be to decline any invitations, myself, especially if they didn’t include him. We’re married, I made a commitment to stand by him and support him, all or nothing. It’s entirely possible, of course, that I’m overly sensitive.
You seem a little defensive about this; I wasn’t intending to sound like I was passing judgement, only responding to your comment, “We’ve invited intermarried couples to our simchas because it could have a positive effect in the future, but they have chosen not to attend.” Perhaps the reason they don’t attend is because they’ve picked up on your ambivalence, are aware that you don’t care to invite the non-Jewish half of a couple if you don’t have to and are reacting accordingly. I’m not saying that’s good, bad or indifferent, incidentally; it is what it is, and whether that’s a positive or a negative depends on whether you want to be close to these people. It doesn’t sound like that’s really the case, so I don’t see that there’s anything about my comment to be upset about. All I was trying to say was that most people are reasonably perceptive, and even if you don’t come out and explicitly say, “We don’t want you here and aren’t happy with your marriage to our relative,” it’s entirely possible that the non-Jewish family members have figured that out on their own.
Anyway, apologies again if my comments came off as accusatory. As I said, they weren’t intended that way.
Wow, I can’t imagine what your comments would be if they WERE intended to be accusatory. Yikes.
In the interest of clarity:
My family=my husband, children, spouses, grandkids, etc.
Other family=my parents, my husbands parents, our respective aunt, uncles & cousins, our respective siblings AND THEIR FAMILIES i.e., everyone else whether related by blood or not, adoptions, etc. In our extended family we also consider relatives of relatives as “family”–(i.e., my brother in law’s siblings & kids, etc.).
I thought that was understood & a universal definition of the words “my family” but I guess I was wrong.
I am not defensive; I attempted to clarify what I wrote because you misconstrued it. I’m not sure what’s going on in your life to make you so combative. You like to zero in on one point, twist it and rip it to shreds while completely ignoring the spirit in which my comments were written.
Um, I don’t think you read the part about my (immediate) family showing respect & accepting people for who they are & the fact that we are respected in return. Please don’t speak for me OR my relatives–you’re way off base. And, last time I checked, Derech Eretz is a fundamental practice in Judaism and one we take very seriously.
My involvement in this thread is over.
I think that your advocating of loving wisdom kindly shared before a marriage, then unconditional love after the fact is always going to improve matters in any family. Sometimes we want to protect our children from “corrupting” points of view. We don’t want to “reward” poor choices as parents. But unconditional love, rather than a fear of shunning can really attract children to strengthen faith that will last another generation. I see this generous (sometimes controversial) attitude as an underpinning foundation of your way of life and what you share here. Resisting judgement and giving true, welcome and love is so powerful! Keep up the good work.
See also Boaz and Ruth.
I am a Christian woman who stumbled on to your videos. I find your blogs and videos very informative, as well as compassionate, rational, and full of common sense. The Bible's Old Testament of my faith contains many books from the Torah as you know, and your exploration of the meaning of these passages and their implications God's people for people are wisely expressed. Your insight has influenced my view of modesty and my relationships with my husband and our children. Thank you for sharing. Keep up the good work!
I had a boyfriend who was raised as orthodox, his father is a rabbi and all his family lives in Israel, except him. He didn’t dress like orthodox, he didn’t eat only kosher. I am catholic and we were together for a year and a half. We found out that I was pregnant, he asked me to have an abortion and because of my values and faith I couldn’t solve one mistake with another one and even bigger. Since that day he disappeared, he said he couldn’t tell his family about this, he changed his number. Now he is living his life as if he never had kids. He is lying to his family and to his community. I had the babies and thank god my family gave me all their support, but I think it is not fair for my babies not to have a dad, just because of his fear of what people will say. As catholics we are supposed to wait until marriage in order to have kids, but we are totally against abortion in any case.
I’m sorry, Claire. That is awful. We are supposed to wait until marriage to have kids too and while there is some room for abortion if there is a threat to health, we do not have abortions carte blanche.