by Haya Luftig
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) condemns Alabama’s new law banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest, as well as other extreme anti-abortion bills in various states. These measures undermine women’s reproductive freedom, endanger women’s health, and criminalize women who get abortions and doctors who perform them.
Though Alabama’s new law is the most extreme so far, other states, such as Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi, have adopted or are close to adopting bills that effectively ban abortion, including “heartbeat” and other similarly restrictive laws. Many of these new bills criminalize women obtaining abortions and abortion providers, who could serve life in prison.
We are deeply concerned about the growing effort to overturn Roe v. Wade and limit women’s reproductive health care access. Courts should immediately enjoin these bills, as they clearly violate settled Supreme Court precedent.
We also reject the Alabama bill’s claim that abortion is worse than the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity, an argument that has been incorporated into other states’ legislation as well. It is outrageous to compare abortion to genocide.
JCPA is committed to safeguarding and strengthening the spirit and impact of Roe v. Wade. For decades, we have advocated at the state and federal levels, joined amicus briefs, and adopted policy resolutions in support of women’s reproductive freedom. The decision to end a pregnancy is a difficult and personal one that should only be made by a woman in consultation with her doctor and others she chooses to involve.
Dissent: The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America has long standing policy of not joining in JCPA [statements] on reproductive rights: “[The Orthodox Union] cannot endorse a public policy that does not reflect the complex response of halacha to the abortion issue. In most circumstances, the halacha proscribes abortion, but there are cases in which halacha permits and indeed mandates abortion. The question of abortion is a sensitive one and personal decisions in this area should be made in consultation with recognized halachic authorities.