New York (June 24, 2022) — The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY) strongly condemns today’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, holding that there is no longer a right to abortion under the federal constitution. Access to safe, affordable, and legal reproductive health care (including abortion) has been a priority of JWFNY for 25 years.
This ruling is devastating in so many ways, especially at a time of ever-rising gun violence and shortages that afflict women and children in particular — of child care, of formula, or menstrual products. Even as women and children are left behind, the government is intervening in the personal decisions we make regarding our own bodies, our own futures and the futures of our families. We abhor this interference.
We also know that under-resourced Black and brown women will carry the weight of this burden. These populations have always struggled to access health care, including abortion, and as that access is further reduced by this ruling, they will face even steeper challenges in terms of health, education and finances. As many have said, and as history has shown, abortion bans do not stop abortions; they only stop safe abortions.
As Jewish Americans, we take this decision especially seriously, because it is a violation of the religious freedom that we have held so dear — and now fear that we are losing. Rabba Sara Hurwitz states, “While there is a range of opinions in the sources, the halachic system shows tremendous compassion for the circumstances of the mother, family and the viability and health of the fetus.” Indeed, Judaism not only permits abortion, it sometimes requires it, for the sake of the mother.
When the line between church and state is blurred and laws prohibit us from practicing our religious beliefs as we see fit, the risk of religious persecution grows. This is not a “Christian” country” — it is a nation that encompasses many cultures and many faiths, and includes those who don’t subscribe to any religion. Now that the Supreme Court has made its decision, it is imperative that our legislators respond to drafting and passing laws that protect our freedom of religion even in the face of this ruling. We call on all of our lawmakers,elected officials, individuals, organizations, and communities to stand together to ensure that every single person in this country has the right to religious freedom and that women are never forced to endure a pregnancy against their will.
And we say to all women, “You are not alone.”