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Rabbis for Reproductive Freedom, NCJW abortion advocates launch campaign

CM 25/05/2021


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Jewish clergy members in the United States have joined the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) in a campaign advocating for reproductive freedom as an upcoming Supreme Court case challenging abortion rights will be held in the coming year.

The NCJW’s Rabbis for Reproductive Freedom campaign has amassed 75 rabbis and cantors who have spoken out in support of abortion rights, writing op-eds and testimonials, hosting “repro” shabbatons (weekend seminars), and offering communities the opportunity to open up about reproductive health.
“Jewish law is clear that life begins at birth, and not prior,” one of the campaigners, Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, declared in a testimonial refuting a bill to prohibit the abortion of fetuses with genetic defects in March 2021. 
The US’ stance on abortion, based on the 1973 Roe v. Wade court ruling, gives women the right to abort a fetus within the first six months of her pregnancy, when it cannot survive outside the uterus.
However the current Supreme Court case, Jackson Women’s Health Organization v Dobbs, threatens to reverse the Roe v. Wade ruing. The court has agreed to consider whether bans on abortions, such as Mississippi’s 15-week abortion limit, are unconstitutional despite the fact that they are well before a sixth month pre-viable period. 
“Alarm bells are ringing loudly about the threat to reproductive rights. The Supreme Court just agreed to review an abortion ban that unquestionably violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and is a test case to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Nancy Northup, the President & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights warned.
The center along with the law firm Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and the Mississippi Center for Justice have submitted a challenge to the case in the name of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic still open in Mississippi. 
The Jackson Women’s Health Organization disputed restrictions Mississippi has placed on abortion centers, including the 15-week-ban, state mandatory 24-hour delays on abortion procedures, the requirement for women to visit a clinic twice before the abortion, and other regulations that delay and make it more difficult for women and abortion clinics to carry out the procedure. There has also been a proposed 6-week-ban preventing abortions from the time a fetus’ heartbeat can first be detected. 
“Mississippi politicians have created countless barriers for people trying to access abortion, intentionally pushing them later into pregnancy. It’s all part of their strategy to eliminate abortion access entirely,” Diane Derzis, the owner of Jackson Women’s Health Organization said.
Rabbis for Repro will participate in a Virtual Lobby Day May 25 to promote policies guaranteeing free and fair access to abortions. These include the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH), which will ensure abortions are affordable and covered by government health insurance, and the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) that would prohibit abortion bans and eliminate unnecessary regulations like those The Jackson Women’s Health Organization has challenged.
“Those who lack access to reproductive health care are more likely to live in poverty and to remain in abusive relationships,” Rabbis for Repro wrote on their campaign site.
It mentioned that “unsafe abortions are a leading cause of death worldwide” and that the “high rates of unsafe abortions are directly associated with laws restricting access to critical health care.”  
Sharfman explained that according to Jewish law, “the mother’s life takes precedence over the life of an unborn child,” supporting the policies that seek to help women suffering from poverty or trapped in dangerous situations to carry out an abortion.
“Our tradition not only permits the termination of pregnancy, but even requires it when the life of the pregnant person is at stake,” Rabbis for Repro declared. 

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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