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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Childrearing Related Questions (12/12)
Section - Question 21.1.12: Entering the Covenant: What about babies who are stillborn or die shortly after birth with respect to pidyon haben?

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                                  Answer:
   
   A child who dies before the month is up could not have become subject
   to pidyon haben. However, if it was a natural birth, it is an "opener
   of the womb", and any subsequent child would not be subject to pidyon
   haben.
   
   The laws of pidyon haben involve only the state of development of the
   miscarried fetus, not the location in which it was carried. In the
   mishnah, the debate is between Rabbi Meir who says that the fetus must
   have eyes in order to be considered and the majority of sages who say
   it must be human-looking. (The Talmud's discussion is in Bechoros
   [logically enough, the tractate named "Firstborns"] 46a.) In practice,
   there is a large grey area, and it can end up being a rabbi's
   judgement call.

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