9 October, 2003
You wrote that tubal ligation is generally not an accepted form of birth control. Can you explain why? As I understand it, one of the issues has to do with impeding the body's normal functioning. But why is tubal ligation substantively different from the pill, which is a hormonal impediment to normal functioning (rather than a physical impediment in this case)?
The difference is that tubal ligation is a permanent form of sterilization. There is a separate commandment, based on Leviticus 22:24, forbidding sterilization of animals as well as people. It is considered a violation of a Torah commandment to sterilize a man and violation of a rabbinic decree to sterilize a woman. Thus, a vasectomy is absolutely forbidden but, in very serious health situations, a tubal ligation would sometimes be permitted for women. The pill, on the other hand, is temporary and does not interfere with the normal progress of sperm into the female genital tract. It is thus generally the halachically preferred method of birth control when contraception itself is permitted.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.
For further questions or comments:
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.
Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.