Fetal monitor
Fetal monitoriStock

A pregnant haredi woman in her 30s arrived on Saturday at Tel Hashomer Hospital, and refused fetal monitoring since she did not want to desecrate Shabbat (the Sabbath).

The woman arrived at the hospital due to a health complication connected to her pregnancy. She claimed she felt the fetus' movements and therefore fetal monitoring was not a necessity.

Jewish law, however, allows the desecration of Shabbat if there is a threat to life, or if there may be a threat to life - including and especially the life of an unborn child. Since the woman arrived in the hospital on Shabbat, fetal monitoring would therefore absolutely be permitted unless the hospital staff deemed it entirely unnecessary. However, this woman preferred not to be monitored on Shabbat, for reasons which are unclear.

Regular fetal monitoring is standard procedure for women with high-risk pregnancies.

After Shabbat ended on Saturday night, the hospital staff attempted to begin fetal monitoring, in order to check the fetus' heartbeat. However, they discovered that the fetus had died over the course of the day.

A representative for Tel Hashomer Hospital said there had been no external signs that the fetus was in distress, and that hospital staff cannot legally force a woman to undergo tests or medical treatment against her will. In addition, hospital staff repeatedly suggested the woman agree to fetal monitoring, but she refused each time.

According to Yediot Ahronot, the hospital is not suspected of negligence.