‘Abortion access is a Jewish value’: Reaction to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade. The decision ended constitutional protections for the right to an abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years. Abortion opponents have fought for decades to outlaw the procedure. Abortion will now likely be banned in about half of the states.
Here is a sampling of reaction from the Jewish community.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs: “Prohibiting abortion access is contrary to Jewish law, traditions, and our principal value of saving a life; it enshrines specific religious imperatives in American law. Judaism compels us to stand for all life, and we prioritize the life and health of a pregnant person.”
Abortion access is a Jewish value.
Abortion care is health care.
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) June 24, 2022
Since 1980—as a matter of religious & personal liberty—ADL has supported the right of women to full access to reproductive care. Today’s decision overturns 50 yrs of constitutional protection for an individual’s right to determine whether to terminate a pregnancy or bear a child.
— ADL (@ADL) June 24, 2022
Agudath Israel of America welcomes Supreme Court overruling Roe v. Wade. We pray that today’s ruling will inspire all Americans to appreciate the moral magnitude of the abortion issue, and to embrace a culture that celebrates life. pic.twitter.com/rUwZevCPuV
— Agudath Israel of America (@AgudahNews) June 24, 2022
Dear anyone who may need an abortion,
If abortion becomes illegal or inaccessible in your state & you can make it to Minnesota, I will do everything possible to help you get the healthcare you need and you deserve. Because healthcare is a human right.
So help me God.
— Rabbi Michael Adam Latz 🇺🇦☮️ (@RavMABAY) June 24, 2022
Hadassah: “Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, reaffirms its unwavering support for full and complete access to reproductive health services and the right to make decisions based on each woman’s religious, moral and ethical values. Hadassah will continue to fight for federal and state legislation affirming and protecting reproductive rights.”
U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY): “Today is a victory for life, for family, for the constitution, and for federalism. When my daughters, Mikayla and Arianna, were born 14.5 weeks early, I had the opportunity to witness life in the second trimester and it was absolutely beautiful. In a state that has legalized late term partial birth abortion and non-doctors performing abortion, in a state that refuses to advance informed consent and parental consent, and where not enough is being done to promote adoption and support mothers, today is yet another reminder that New York clearly needs to do a much better job to promote, respect and defend life.”
Can we blame Christian imperialism, Christian nationalism, Christian hegemony, Christian brutality, and Christian supremacy now?
— Benyamin Diaz, Wicked Vagabond (@WorstSamaritan) June 24, 2022
Keshet (LGBTQ rights): “This Supreme Court decision is the culmination of a decades-long campaign by an extremist, predominantly white Christian minority to impose their religious and cultural beliefs on the majority of Americans who support abortion rights. Keshet, and the Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities, will fight to reverse this court decision and ensure abortion access for all.”
Rabbinical Assembly (representing Conservative rabbis): “The RA is outraged by the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to end the Constitutional right to abortion and deny access to lifesaving medical procedures for millions of individuals in the U.S., in what will be regarded as one of the most extreme instances of governmental overreach in our lifetime.”
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America: “The Orthodox Union is unable to either mourn or celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade. We cannot support absolute bans on abortion—at any time point in a pregnancy—that would not allow access to abortion in life-saving situations. Similarly, we cannot support legislation that does not limit abortion to situations in which medical (including mental health) professionals affirm that carrying the pregnancy to term poses real risk to the life of the mother. … The “right to choose” (as well as the “right to die”) are thus completely at odds with our religious and halachic values. Legislation and court rulings that enshrine such rights concern us deeply on a societal level. Yet, that same mandate to preserve life requires us to be concerned for the life of the mother.”
Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (Jofa): “As a matter of faith, Jofa supports every woman’s legal right to make decisions about, and have control over, her own body, without the involvement of the government or any other entity.”
Women’s Rabbinic Network: “The Torah, the Mishnah, and the Talmud — Judaism’s most sacred and authoritative texts — do not view a fetus as a soul until it is born. Rather, a fetus is considered part of the parent’s body until delivery. Indeed, the word for soul — neshama — also means breath, because Judaism teaches that life begins not at conception or with a heartbeat but with the first breath. Therefore, forcing someone to carry a pregnancy that they do not want or that endangers their life is a violation of Jewish law because it prioritizes a fetus over the living adult who is pregnant. This must be understood as a violation of the United States Constitution which guarantees our freedom to practice our religion and also our freedom from the dictates of other religions.”
#SCOTUS has stripped away the fundamental right to abortion that has been reaffirmed for decades.
This is an affront to all we stand for as Jewish Americans. We will not stop fighting for reproductive justice & that means we must elect more Democrats.
— Jewish Dems (@USJewishDems) June 24, 2022
Hillel International: “Our tradition teaches that our most sacred obligation is the preservation of human life, and we’re dismayed that this ruling will make it more challenging to fulfill that promise for the students, professionals, and community members we serve.”
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, CEO of T’ruah: “Today’s ruling ignores the First Amendment right for Jews to practice their religion without government interference, and will also have life threatening implications for millions of Americans, primarily low-income people of color, by giving states the power to revoke essential health care from nearly half the population.”
For our entire existence, Lilith has made the case that anti-abortion forces and antisemitism are closely linked. We abhor this decision and stand with patients who need safe, legal and accessible abortion https://t.co/Ke0I8YpWTE
— Lilith Magazine (@LilithMagazine) June 24, 2022
My great grandma died from an abortion in 1918. A Jewish woman in Romania didn’t have many options for proper care, but Judaism has always held that abortion is is a personal choice.
— Yael Ridberg (@RabbiYRidberg) June 24, 2022
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington: “Even under its strictest, most traditional interpretation, Jewish law mandates the termination of a pregnancy in certain circumstances involving the life or health of the mother. While we respect other religions’ belief that life begins at conception, Jewish law has no such dictate. Accordingly, a ruling holding that a fetus is a person effectively elevates one religious viewpoint over others and infringes upon Jewish pregnant individuals’ right to follow the tenets of their faith.”