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Some religions take the stance that life begins at conception. Others do not.

Judaism, for example, is a religion that believes pregnant individuals are only carrying “potential” life but not a “full-fledged” life that possesses a soul. When a pregnant individual’s own life is at risk by carrying a fetus to term, that individual must, according to Jewish law, abort that fetus in order to preserve one’s own life.

In addition, if maintaining a pregnancy causes the individual undue harm either physically or mentally, abortion is considered to be justifiable. Abortion is not seen as a form of birth control. The decision to have an abortion is a serious one, and the Conservative Jewish Movement encourages its members to consult beforehand with health care professionals, family and one’s rabbi.

Religions can cherish life yet hold differing views on how one determines whether or not an abortion is permissible in individual cases. The difference is based on the definition of when full-fledged life and ensoulment start.

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Gov. Pete Ricketts needs to understand that, under the current abortion laws, no one is required to have an abortion, and individuals can exercise their own personal rights and religious beliefs to carry a pregnancy to term or not.

Individuals in our society can hold opposing points of view while co-existing under current abortion policies. Let us act responsibly and not further impede access to abortion for those whose minority religious beliefs are to be protected as stated in our First Amendment to the Constitution.

Nancy E. Coren, Lincoln

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