Jewish Affairs Caucus of the National Education Association

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JCPA Condemns Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade

New York, NY — The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) strongly condemns today’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade, holding that there is no longer a right to abortion under the federal constitution. Access to safe, affordable, and legal abortion and reproductive health care is a priority for JCPA. We are outraged by this decision, which we do not believe represents the will of the people nor is in the best interest of the country.  For decades, JCPA has championed reproductive freedom in keeping with our strong belief in religious liberty. We have advocated at the state and federal levels, joined amicus briefs, and adopted policy resolutions in support of everyone’s right to make their own reproductive decisions, including the right to access an abortion.

Today’s dismantling of nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent undermines reproductive freedom, endangers people’s health, and will inevitably lead to the criminalization of those who get abortions and the doctors who perform them. We know that abortion bans do not stop abortions; they only stop safe abortions. This decision will disproportionately impact people of color, those who are low-income, and young people. Studies show that banning abortions leads to poor health outcomes for the pregnant person, long term poverty, and other adverse health and economic impacts. This ruling could even lead to death if a person experiences an ectopic pregnancy or other life-endangering conditions that require an abortion, as would be the case in those states that have passed “trigger” laws banning abortion without exception.   

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. If the fetus endangers a person’s life physically or, according to at least some Jewish religious authorities, through mental anguish, Jewish law supports abortion of a fetus up until the moment of birth.

JCPA believes in the foundational principle of separation of church and state, which prohibits the governmental imposition of religious beliefs. Overturning Roe v. Wade violates this principle. It imposes a narrow religious perspective on the entire nation.

JCPA believes in the American vision that the role of our government is to protect the health, liberty, and dignity of all people. We will continue to work for reproductive freedom and call on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade. JCPA supports an individual’s right to make their own reproductive choices.

National Council of Jewish Women Outraged Over Supreme Court Ruling Ending Right to Abortion

CEO Sheila Katz: ‘NCJW To Continue To Fight’

WASHINGTON — With today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, National Council of Jewish Women CEO Sheila Katz released the following statement:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a moral failure. It will put lives at risk. By overturning 50 years of precedent, safe and vital abortion care is now virtually inaccessible to millions of people who need it. In the weeks and months ahead, we will see the devastating impact this ruling will have on human lives.

“This egregious decision is a direct violation of both our American values and our Jewish tradition. Reversing the protections of Roe defies logic, morality, compassion and the fundamental right of all Americans to practice their religious beliefs without interference from the government.

“In the 13 states where abortion will become immediately illegal, millions of people will have to face the harsh truth that they no longer have control over their lives and their bodies. This decision will forever alter the lives of those who will be forced to remain pregnant, increasing the chances that they will face life-threatening medical complications, poverty and unemployment. And we know from existing data in states where abortion is already virtually inaccessible that this decision will disproportionately impact those who already face barriers to accessing health care, including women, and particularly Black, Indigenous and people of Color, LGBTQ+ individuals, those with disabilities, young people and those working to make ends meet.

“Abortion bans place greater value on the life of the fetus than on the pregnant person, a violation of both Jewish law and tradition and of American religious liberty. Now, it seems only certain people are entitled to religious liberty, which renders the entire concept meaningless. Today’s decision betrays this most cherished American value. The rights of American Jews and other people of faith who believe in access to abortion, who are the majority of people in this country, have been sacrificed to the overwhelming zeal of one small group that has turned the shield of religious freedom into a sword.

“National Council of Jewish Women advocates will not be deterred. We will continue to fight until everyone can make their own faith-informed decision about their bodies, lives and futures, regardless of who they are or where they live. Now is the time. Forced pregnancy is an explicit violation of our rights as Jews. Abortion access is and always will be a Jewish value, and we are determined to keep fighting, from the streets to the courts, to ensure that everyone has access to the care they need and the ability to make their own decisions for themselves and their futures.”