Jewish organizations split on Supreme Court decision to overturn ‘Roe v. Wade’

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Jewish groups came out in full force regarding the decision, with clear opinions on both sides of the issue.

Agudath Israel of America welcomed the ruling, calling it a “historic development” in a statement.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” Deut. 30:1 

Credit: Dmitry Demidovich/Shutterstock.

“Agudath Israel has long been on record as opposing Roe v. Wade’s legalization of abortion on demand,” the statement read. “Informed by the teaching of Jewish law that fetal life is entitled to significant protection—with termination of pregnancy authorized only under certain extraordinary circumstances—we are deeply troubled by the staggering number of pregnancies in the United States that end in abortion.”

The organization added that it does not “seek to impose our religious beliefs on the broader American society, “but states that it believes “that society, through its laws, should promote a social ethic that affirms the supreme value of life. Allowing abortion on demand, in contrast, promotes a social ethic that devalues life.”

“We pray that today’s ruling will inspire all Americans to appreciate the moral magnitude of the abortion issue and to embrace a culture that celebrates life,” the statement concluded.

The Orthodox Union reiterated its position when the draft was leaked by saying that the organization could neither celebrate nor mourn the decision, as it could not support an absolute ban on abortion at any time during the pregnancy for lifesaving situations nor support legislation that doesn’t limit abortion to situations where carrying a pregnancy to term would risk the life of the mother.

“Jewish law places paramount value on choosing life and mandates—not as a right but as a responsibility—safeguarding our own lives and the lives of others by behaving in a healthy and secure manner, doing everything in our power to save lives, and refraining from endangering others. This concern for even potential life extends to the unborn fetus and to the terminally ill,” the OU said in its news release. “The ‘right to choose’ (as well as the ‘right to die’) [is] thus completely at odds with our religious and halachic values. Legislation and court rulings that enshrine such rights concern us deeply on a societal level.”

Still, that same mandate also requires concern for the mother, it explained, which Jewish law prioritizes over that of a fetus when it endangers the mother’s life, and “an abortion may be authorized, if not mandated by halachah and should be available to all women irrespective of their economic status.”

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