I’m going out on a limb with this column, but I couldn’t see today’s news without commenting. The following is not representative of any organization and only reflects the author’s opinion:
I knew it was coming,
I’ve known it was coming since the leak,
I kept hoping that it was a trial balloon,
It’s not possible that decades of precedent could be overturned,
It’s like a punch in the stomach,
I am furious…
…just some of the comments I’ve already heard from members of the community in response to today’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that ostensibly overturns Roe v Wade which provided the right to safe abortion.
It denies women the right to determine their own fate, to make fundamental decisions about their own bodies. The decision will imperil the health and lives of women across the United States with the most effect being borne by black, brown, and low-income women.
While there are many complex discussions on halacha in reference to reproductive rights, and there is certainly no unanimity in the Jewish world on this subject, the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community (and for that matter, the majority of all Americans) are in favor of a woman’s right to choose.
Even in the stricter interpretations, Jewish law provides for the termination of a pregnancy in certain circumstances involved the life or health of the mother. And while there are different religious beliefs that life begins at conception, Jewish law does not dictate that.
A statement by the Jewish Council of Public Affairs synthesized it well:
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. While we treat a fetus with great significance, it does not merit the status of a person until the moment of birth and then it has equal status with the person giving birth.
This decision is not the last word and it certainly is a reminder that we cannot take our freedoms for granted. Unless Congress steps in in some way, women’s reproductive health will be determined on a state-by-state basis. Lest you think state elections are not important....
Recently, on our Facebook page we posted a graphic, “Elections Have Consequences.” We’ve certainly seen that with this ruling as well as recent rulings that minimize the separation of church and state and gun legislation.
Our next election is 136 days away:
we must use our voices,
we must use our influence,
we must use our passion to speak out for justice.
Your vote is your voice.
Make it heard.