When comparing both authors’ approaches to reproductive technology I could identify various differences in the narrative and the arguments each present. The first difference is that Bhattacharya offers comparative analysis when the Hindu approaches are compared and contrasted with those of the Torah, the New Testament and especially Roman Catholic teachings. In contrast, Broyde’s approach is solely based on Jewish Law and its views on reproductive technologies. The Halakha views cloning as less than the ideal way to reproduce people, but when there is no other method available then it accepts having children through cloning – it even considers it a mitzvah (commandment/good deed). In the third chapter of Bhattacharya’s book, there is a narrative of the Mahabharata that is used as an ethical guideline. It explains that in it, there is a priority placed on having children while accepting a variety of creative means to ‘produce’ offspring. In Broyde’s approach, there is a clear intent to explain the reason behind the hesitancy towards avoiding the use of cloning as means of reproduction while in Bhattacharya’s approach there seems to be a more open perspective towards – in general – every type of reproduction system.
Furthermore, it is important to note that in both cases there is a different basis for the narrative used. Even though both touch upon alternative reproductive systems as a possibility alongside respective reasonings, the texts used to argument each of the perspectives is vastly different. In Broyde’s work there is vast reference to the Jewish ‘Law’ – a set of rules that are to be abided by – as well as reference to biblical stories like the Golem on page 306 as well as interpretations from various Rabbis such as in page 304 referring to the comments on the ‘Identical Twin Issue. On the other hand, in Bhattacharya’s book there is no reference to a practical set of rules apart from a set of “theoretical” laws written in the Laws of Manu, however, in chapter 2 there is a synopsis of the Mahabharata and an extensive reference to the stories of how the three queens Kunti, Munti, and Gandhari overcome the challenge of infertility to provide for their descendants. In these stories there is an underlying tone of reproductive manipulation; for example, how Kunti and Madri deal with the curse placed upon their husband to call upon the G-ds to impregnate them or how Gandhari manipulates the product of her conception to bring the births of one hundred sons and one daughter. Bhattacharya extrapolates from these stories to show how they can be used to discuss bioethical issues such as fertility medications, sperm banks, donor artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryonic transfer.
In the latter piece there is more of an emphasis on the importance of women to take control of their reproductive choices (Chapter 3), her approach is interdisciplinary in that she brings up examples and evidence from nursing, bioethics and Hindu culture and religion (with interviews from a contemporary Hindu community in California) this gives the book an appropriate focus on women’s experience throughout. drawing. However, in Broyde’s narrative, there is no such distinction between the roles of each of the biological genders. It clearly defines that a clone is seen as a full human being and that is should be treated as such. It also defines the parent-child relationship as to be equal to the usual parent-child relationship.
These differences are not to be considered specifically because of the differences between Hinduism and Judaism but also because of the specific methodologies of these authors. There is a natural tendency to get away from what is not known, this is mainly because the consequences of the action are yet to be understood. However, not addressing the possibility of knowledge – permanently – is considered regrettable. Jewish tradition imposes an obligation on those who are capable, to resolve the issues and submit a preliminary analysis for others to comment and critique it, after that the Jewish Law or Halakha will establish the policy concerning a variety of issues related to the issue, in the case of Broyde’s piece it would be cloning. Bhattacharya’s methodology – as mentioned before – is interdisciplinary and it draws evidence from nursing, biology, ethics, Hindu culture, and religion as well as contemporary perspectives from a Hindu community; she sets out to examine how key elements of Hindu thought can deal with the complex issues involved in infertility and reproductive technology. Thematic unity is provided by grounding the analysis of creative insights drawn from the epic Mahabharata and the ways it deals with challenges of infertility.
Overall, both authors address the topic of reproductive technologies in a similar fashion. They both bring up histories of their respective religions as well as books of law to argue for an idea. Differences arise when looking at the proportion to which each of the authors reach to these sources to argue. It is noticeable that in Broyde’s piece there are more Law-based examples in comparison to Bhattacharya who analyses more in-depth the Mahabharata which in it of itself is a collection of stories like the ones mentioned above. Additionally, the methodologies vary between the authors in a sense that – apart from the fact that they are 2 different religions – each use a different set of resources due to the inherent nature of the state of each faith. In terms, Hinduism lacked a base to which attribute a perspective on reproductive systems, therefore the author saw a necessity for a complete analysis and incorporation of Hinduism into the subject. In turn, Boyde’s work is based upon building on top of something that already existed – i.e the Jewish Law or Halakha.