The Supreme Court Leak
As we come together on this Shabbat, I want to speak for a moment about the controversy that erupted this week regarding a possible Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs. Wade which made abortion legal in 1973. First of all, let’s talk about the leak of this document. The Torah teaches us, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof- justice, justice shall you pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20) You can see these words proudly displayed in my office. Justice is a foundational Jewish value. Without faith in the ultimate fairness of the judicial system, society cannot function. When the prophet Micah describes the 3 values that God demands, number one is, “Do justice.” The fact that our sacred trust in our country’s court has been violated is incredibly concerning.
Then there’s our perspective on abortion rights. I was alive and conscious in 1973; in fact, it’s the year I graduated from high school. I am here to tell you that it is NOT the case that abortion did not exist prior to that date. Rather, at great risk to their health, women found ways that were often medically unsafe, in fact, life threatening, to end pregnancies. The repeal of Roe vs. Wade will not prevent abortion, it will only make it more dangerous. Abortion is a necessary component of women’s healthcare.
Jewish tradition not only does not prohibit abortion, there are times when it is mandated. Saving the life of a mother has always been the highest halachic priority. Causing a miscarriage is punished with a financial penalty, not capital punishment. Abortion is not equivalent to murder. I am proud that the CCAR, the body of Reform rabbis, has affirmed its solidarity with women’s right to choose many, many times.
We assert our right as Jews to align our medical care with the guidance of our religious wisdom. This right will be threatened should the Supreme Court choose to overturn this decision. We will keep a close eye on this issue in coming weeks, and use our voices in the public square to ensure that women’s rights are protected.