Why Judaism cannot be anti-abortion
It’s time to talk about religion and abortion.
It’s time to talk about religion and sexuality.
It’s time to talk about religion and justice.
I PLEDGE TO CHANGE THE CONVERSATION
For too long, the extreme religious right has dominated public conversation about religion and sexuality in this country. As a result, an unprecedented number of bills are being proposed–and far too many are passing–that attempt to write one narrow-minded, dangerous religious view of abortion and sexuality into law.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice believes that it’s time to tell the truth: most people of faith, like the majority of Americans overall, support access to contraception, sexuality education, and reproductive healthcare including abortion. We hold this view because access to education and services accomplishes two vital goals that are deeply grounded in both religious and democratic values:
- Empowering individuals, couples, families and communities to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship–indeed, a sacred relationship–with sex, sexuality and reproduction.
- Respecting the right and moral agency of each person to make personal reproductive health decisions according to their own beliefs and values.
As people of faith, and as Americans, we are called to seek for justice for all. Restrictions on access to sexuality education and reproductive healthcare are unjust because they disproportionately affect those already struggling – most often low income communities and people of color. Silence is no longer an option and it’s time for a change. Whether or not you identify as a person of faith, we need your help to change the conversation about religion, abortion, sexuality, and justice. Join us!
Today I pledged:
YES! I believe that It’s Time to change the conversation about religion, abortion, sexuality and justice. Therefore, I pledge:
- To speak up and take action when religion is being used as a tool of judgment and shame rather than a positive force for compassion, health and healing.
- To help change the perception of religion by sharing the truth whenever I can: The majority of people of faith – in keeping with their religious values, not in spite of them—support access to contraception, sexuality education, and reproductive healthcare including abortion.
- To model a different kind of conversation, creating space for a more honest, thoughtful and mutually respectful dialogue on matters related to religion, abortion, sexuality, and justice.
I just wrote my Congressman to urge his opposition to anti-choice legislation. On the recommendation of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, I stepped up and let my voice be heard. I hope you will also.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7) is a dangerous and highly restrictive bill that severely threatens the right to choice affirmed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. This legislation would prevent women seeking needed reproductive health care from using their own, private money to pay for abortion services. H.R. 7 would also deny women the right to deduct abortion services in their health care tax credit, infringing not only on federally-administered health care plans, but also on privately-run and paid-for plans. This legislation, if passed, would likely lead many private health insurance plans to eliminate abortion coverage altogether, thus dramatically reducing women’s access to safe and affordable abortion services.
H.R. 7 further enshrines the “Hyde Amendment” into law, barring any federal government money from being spent on abortions needed by women who rely on Medicaid, Medicare or the Indian Health Service except for in the cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother. Despite the health care disparities the Affordable Care Act seeks to correct, this bill would certainly reinforce an unfortunate reality that a woman’s ability to fully access her reproductive rights is dependent on where she falls on the income ladder.
Our tradition teaches that all life is sacred. Although an unborn fetus is precious and to be protected, Judaism views the life and well-being of the mother as paramount, placing a higher value on existing life than on potential life.
We learn from Mishnah Ohalot 7:6 that a woman is forbidden from sacrificing her own life for that of the fetus, and if her life is threatened, the text permits her no other option but abortion. In addition, if the mental health, sanity, or self-esteem of the woman (i.e. in the case of rape or incest) is at risk due to the pregnancy itself, the Mishnah permits the woman to terminate the pregnancy. It is due to the fundamental Jewish belief in the sanctity of life that abortion is viewed as both a moral and correct decision under some circumstances.
Urge your representatives to vote against this extreme legislation, which would deprive women of the ability to make their own choices about their reproductive health.
We cannot stand silent while the House of Representatives considers a bill that violates the U.S. Constitution, decades of U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and many of our core Jewish values.
To reach your Members of Congress, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Or take action by email.
Let me know when you take action.