In a world where US legislators defy the American mandate to separate church and state by claiming moral high ground (Christian morals, of course) they have created a social circumstance that could stand to facilitate the greatest wave of religious conversion since Henry VIII saw a cute brunette with a penchant for monogrammed jewelry.
If abortion is criminal only according to one faith, in a country based on religious freedom, then any law in accordance will have to make allowances for the expression of any religion – given it does not harm others or threaten the public good. Termination of a pregnancy for any reason does neither of these.
Jews’ views on abortion largely depend on how observant they are and their denominational affiliation (Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, etc.). But there is widespread agreement among scholars and rabbinical authorities that a complete prohibition on abortion is inconsistent with Jewish law and tradition. Under Jewish law, an abortion to save the life of the mother is permitted.2
It’s patently clear that women’s rights are not a convincing platform for the Republican party, but religious freedom claims have seen support in Conservative courts, up to and including the Supreme Court, with success as recent as the ability to waive covid vaccination requirements. If your personal beliefs protect one’s right to be an idiot and a threat to public health then why not basic human autonomy?
Thus, one can only assume that the anti-choice agenda, who are well aware that the majority of the American voting public would prefer medically determined abortion access1 in a country rumoured to be “free,” want those dissenters to be Jewish. Then they qualify for the much lauded religious exemption. Then they say fun things like “Oy, vey” and “Kvetch”. Maybe they just really like Mrs. Maisel. There are worse things than a tide of change that results in more brisket than fish frys on Fridays. Is that it, is the real fear a run on haddock?
The Talmud, a compendium of rabbinical commentaries and laws written during the 1st millennium C.E., characterizes a fetus as “mere water”. If a woman is at risk of death while giving birth, the fetus can and should be destroyed to save her because her life outweighs its potential life. It is considered a mitzvah, a commandment, to save the life of a mother when she is at risk of life-threatening complications such as an ectopic pregnancy or an incomplete spontaneous miscarriage.2
The extreme right actually want more mitzvahs. More bagels with lox. More tikkun olam4. It’s a hell of a Nazi reverse psychology move. Pretend to advance the patriarchy and fascist white supremacy while perpetuating the multiplication of the global Jewish population by 12x3. I see what you did there.
- Pew Research Center
- Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, Brandeis University
- There are currently 16 million Jews in the world;340 million Americans, 55% of whom want unrestricted abortion; could mean 197 million new Jews.
- Humanity must come together to fix what is wrong with the world. (See what I did there.)