When does life begin?

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Note: The questioner (name anonymised) is a physician in Missouri, USA. The prohibition against abortion (for Noachides) is derived from last week’s parashah (Gen. 9:6).

Dear Rabbi Simon
When does life begin? I have researched this query on various Jewish sites and have found everything from conception to the moment at birth when according to some the time the body is infused with a soul and considered a sentient being. Obviously, I am against abortion and am being confused from my own faith’s answers. Like they say put two Jews in a room and you’ll get three opinions.
Dr Vidal Heimowitz

Dear Dr. Heimowitz
Thank you for your important and topical question.
There are indeed a range of views on the question of the beginning of life, however many (Jewish) writers, in recent weeks especially, approach the subject through the lens of politics, sociology, personal autonomy, etc, rather than genuinely seeking to establish the Jewish legal position.
For now, I can recommend this short, non-technical article reflecting on the recent “brouhaha” (and more) occasioned by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The author, Rabbi Dr. J David Bleich, is a leading halakhist who is also a respected expert in legal and medical ethics. He has written extensively on the subject of abortion.
I hope this is helpful.
With Torah blessings
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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