Central Conference of American Rabbis Statement on Reproductive Justice Throughout the United States
Knowing that many are deeply concerned about the growing threat to women’s reproductive health posed by state laws newly passed and others under consideration, and the callous rhetoric that has often accompanied their debate, I share with you below the Reform rabbinate’s statement on recent developments. Recognizing that the termination of a pregnancy is a decision of immeasurable gravity, the CCAR is nonetheless unequivocal in its affirmation of “the legal right of a family or a woman to determine on the basis of their or her own religious and moral values whether or not to terminate a particular pregnancy, free from government interference.”
Each of us will lift our voice according to our own values. I am proud of those for which our Reform Movement stands.
Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson
Central Conference of American Rabbis Statement on Reproductive Justice throughout the United States
The Central Conference of American Rabbis is alarmed by the cascade of new state laws intended to end reproductive liberty. While the most draconian measures, signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia and Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama, are the most blatant attempts to end abortion rights altogether, we also oppose the bevy of laws adopted in other states to limit or effectively end access to abortion.
The CCAR lifts up our own resolution on reproductive justice, a powerful Resolution released this week by our constituent group, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, and this comprehensive statement from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which detail the historical and contemporary Jewish stances on abortion and the status of the fetus. See also the comprehensive review of Jewish law on abortion from the Freehof Institute on Progressive Halakhah. We will not review these matters here, except to reaffirm that Judaism has never accorded personhood status to the fetus.
Reform rabbis are particularly concerned about the fate of financially vulnerable women in the affected states, as well as the fates of gender non-conforming and transgender people who may become pregnant. Restricting abortion rights to those who can afford to travel out of state is a grotesque violation of reproductive justice. We stand with abortion providers, who bravely make a safe, legal medical procedure available, often and increasingly under perilous circumstances.
Reform rabbis would not seek to impose Judaism’s position on these matters upon our nation and state. We reject the adoption of other religions’ stances into law, which is a violation of the First Amendment prohibition of the imposition of a state religion. The CCAR calls on federal courts to prohibit enforcement of these laws, and on the Supreme Court to reaffirm the reproductive rights promised in our Constitution, clarified in Roe v. Wade.
Rabbi Ronald Segal
Rabbi Steven A. Fox
Rabbi Hara E. Person