Blog 2- Kadeitra Wells

Within their writings, there is some overlap between Bhattacharya and Broyde’s stances on reproductive technology. For example, Bhattacharya describes the decision for one to engage in reproductive technology an initiation of dharma, and the decision to assume full responsibility for the subsequent results of that actions as karma, which are both things that one is permitted to do under Hinduism so long as they assume responsibility Kunti and Pandu struggled to maintain traditional Hindu beliefs while fulfilling their reproductive duty. Bhattacharya mentions choosing a “divine sperm donor” over a “human sperm donor” to maintain a lawful and socially acceptable reproductive decision. This ideology is reinforced within her concept of dharma, which is the god of merit and cosmic judge in Hinduism. This way humans can do as they please with reproductive decisions while remaining religiously faithful.

She uses her sources to convey the importance placed on continuing life through reproduction and the end goal of having and expanding families instead of just focusing on the reproductive process. In a similar light, Broyde states that there is the need to help others, especially to reproduce, in Jewish doctrine (Broyde 295), and that although cloning via ICF or artificial insemination would not be the preferred option, that it was still a possibility.

However, unlike Bhattacharya, Broyde has a specified focus on who will take on the ‘mother role’. Given the nature of Jewish reproductive laws and religious doctrine, he attributes this role automatically to the gestational mother (or surrogate), while still leaving the possibility that the ‘cloned’ mother he also states that not everything humanity wants to accomplish is true and right in the eyes of Judaism (Broyde 295). Therefore, I think that Broyde would be more firmly ‘on the fence’, or more rather, indirectly against prenatal testing to not open the door for possibility of religious violation of Jewish doctrine.

The third chapter of Bhattacharya’s book utilizes the Mahabharata to guide ethical decisions under Hinduism, and to then compare the openness expressed in Hindu reproductive assistance in comparison to Roman Catholic teachings, the Torah, and the New Testament in Christianity. This is a sharp contrast to Broyde’s use of the Halakha to designate cloning as a last resort tool for reproduction that is not preferred. He also mentions the Bible and the Torah in describing the religious obligations that Judaism has to reproduction, stating that enabling those who cannot reproduce to do so, is a part of Jewish doctrine to help others in need, specifically with reproduction. However, not everything that humanity wants to do is proper in Jewish doctrine, including in vitro fertilization (296)

The integration of religious readings from each author and their methodology of drawing from these sources for audience interpretation is the primary difference between Hinduism and Judaism. The two religions do not necessarily have this much differing between them, but rather the author’s interpretation and delivery of texts varies instead.

I don’t think that both Bhattacharya and Broyde would support IVF/prenatal testing on a case by case basis. I feel as though Bhattacharya’s writing and the connections she makes between Hinduism’s dharma and karma would support this notion, but Broyde’s stance with Jewish law is more inflexible. Although Broyde states that there is the need to help others, especially to reproduce, in Jewish doctrine, he also states that not everything humanity wants to accomplish is true and right in the eyes of Judaism (Broyde 295). Therefore, I think that Broyde would be more firmly ‘on the fence’, or more rather, indirectly against prenatal testing to not open the door for possibility of religious violation of Jewish doctrine.

 

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