Three prominent Orthodox Jewish organizations in the US confirmed their rejection of on-demand abortion after Friday’s landmark decision to nullify Roe v Wade by the US Supreme Court.
The recent decision comes after an unprecedented leak last month of the majority decision written by Justice Samuel Alito. No draft decision in the court’s modern history has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending. The disclosure resulted in illegal protests in front of the homes of justices and a threat to the life of one justice. The disclosure of the document was a breach of Supreme Court secrecy and has yet to be thoroughly investigated. Many left-wing politicians have made calls for action that came close to calls to violence.
The Coalition for Jewish Values, a group representing some 2,000 Orthodox rabbis in the US, said it “welcomed” the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Judaism regards all human life as sacred, including when a fetus is yet to be born. Jewish law permits abortion only in truly extraordinary circumstances. This does not describe the situation in America today, where most abortions are done as an elective procedure.”
“The dialog needs to change: if everything is a human right, then, in the end, nothing remains worthy of special protection. We must return to a society that cherishes human rights and human life.”
Agudath Israel of the US, who represents the American ultra-orthodox community, also hailed the ruling.
“Agudath Israel of America welcomes this historic development. Agudath Israel has long been on record opposing Roe v. Wade’s legalization of abortion on demand. Informed by the teaching of Jewish law that fetal life is entitled to significant protection, with the 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 Orthodox Union (OU), who represents the modern-orthodox Jewry in America, took a more nuanced approach refusing to “either mourn or celebrate” the decision, opposing both on-demand abortion and “absolute bans on abortion” – despite the fact that the Dobbs decision doesn’t outlaw abortion.
“We cannot support legislation that does not limit abortion to situations in which medical (including mental health) professionals affirm that carrying the pregnancy to term poses a real risk to the life of the mother.”
“The ‘right to choose (as well as the “right to die”) are 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.”
“Yet, that same mandate to preserve life requires us to be concerned for the life of the mother. Jewish law prioritizes the life of the pregnant mother over the life of the fetus such that where the pregnancy critically endangers the physical health or mental health of the mother, an abortion may be authorized, if not mandated, by Halacha and should be available to all women irrespective of their economic status. Legislation and court rulings, federally or in any state, that absolutely ban abortion without regard for the health of the mother would literally limit our ability to live our lives in accordance with our responsibility to preserve life.”
Missouri passed a “trigger ban” in 2019 with the provision that it would take effect if Roe v. Wade was overturned – outlaws virtually all abortions, except for medical emergencies.
Last month, Israel365 News reported that Chief rabbi of Safed Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu blasted America’s Left on Tuesday, calling out progressive Democrats over their abortion ideology.
Rabbi Eliyahu lamented abortion and cautioned that abortion on demand raises ethical questions about the premise of the sin of murder.
“The meaning of this is that their court nullified the legal right of a mother to murder her kids, the right of a doctor to chop up a live fetus into pieces inside a woman’s body so it could be removed piece by piece.”