Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

Comedian Natasha Leggero, Newly Jewish, Says ‘Abortions are Cool’ in Judaism

Speaking on late-night TV about her recent conversion to Judaism, stand-up comedian and actress Natasha Leggero said one of her new faith’s positive qualities is that “abortions are cool.”

Appearing last week on the TBS show “Conan” with Conan O’Brien, the Catholic-born Leggero — who stars on the Comedy Central series “Another Period” — said, “You could get an abortion on every Jewish holiday and it would be OK.”

“I’m not saying I’m going to get an abortion, but it’s like AAA,” she said, referring to the automotive club. “You’re not going to use all those tows, but no, it’s just nice to know…”

Image by Getty Images

Questioning whether she was characterizing Judaism accurately, O’Brien joked, “I just was given a signal. The Jews don’t want you anymore!”

“They just think differently about it,” she said, adding that Catholicism opposes abortion even in the case of rape — a claim O’Brien questioned.

Jewish teachings on abortion are mixed, but are more nuanced than in many other faiths. Jewish texts tend to disapprove of abortion on demand, but in certain cases argue that terminating a pregnancy is not only permissible but is required. A number of American Jewish organizations and activists have defended abortion rights in the United States, and abortion is legal in Israel.

Leggero, 42, did not say in which denomination of Judaism the rabbi who oversaw her conversion is. However, she said she had completed “19 four-hour courses to convert to Judaism” where the students consisted of “genuine seekers” and “young beautiful women being forced to go by their older fiance with turkey necks.”

Asked which category she was in, she said, “I don’t really feel comfortable answering that question.”

Leggero recently married comedian and author Moshe Kasher, 36. In his 2012 memoir, “Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16,” Kasher wrote that his brother is an Orthodox rabbi and that he grew up spending several months a year in Brooklyn with his father, who had become a Hasidic Jew in the Satmar sect after divorcing Kasher’s mother.

After O’Brien suggested she was a seeker, Leggero said, “Judaism’s a beautiful religion. You get to have a weekly Shabbat, which is like a party every Friday….You’re part of this beautiful religion, steeped in culture.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.