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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 5/17/19

Abortion has been a hot button topic in American for many decades. Heated debates between so-called pro-life and pro-choice forces have been going on for as long as I can remember. However, within Judaism, there is no disagreement over the fundamental issue of whether an embryo or a fetus is considered a life independent of its mother. It is not. The basis for this position is in Torah, specifically Exodus 21.22-21:23.

Judaism establishes that abortion is permissible when the mother’s well-being is threatened due to pregnancy. There is discussion within Judaism as to what constitutes “well-being” with some viewpoints being more restrictive and others more expansive. The state legislatures in Alabama and Georgia have recently passed laws that make it a felony to terminate a pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

These state laws directly contravene Judaism. Furthermore, Reform Judaism holds that it is a woman’s right and responsibility to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not.

The organization of female Reform Rabbis, the Women’s Rabbinic Network, rightly condemns the actions of the state legislatures in Georgia and Alabama. To read their full statement, click here.

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