The Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA) condemns Texas’ new anti-abortion law, Senate Bill (S.B) 8, which bans abortion after six weeks into a pregnancy—before most people are aware they are pregnant. S.B. 8 places the onus of enforcement on private citizens, who can now sue abortion providers, as well as anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks.
This law, which took effect today after the Supreme Court denied litigants’ emergency request to block it, empowers individuals to sue members of the Jewish community and other religious communities, including clergy, simply for supporting people seeking abortion care as early as six weeks into their pregnancy. JCPA is committed to safeguarding and strengthening the spirit and impact of Roe v. Wade. For decades, we have advocated at the state and federal levels, joined amicus briefs, and adopted policy resolutions in support of women’s reproductive freedom. A person’s decision to end a pregnancy is a difficult and personal one that should only be made in consultation with their doctor and others they choose to involve, including their clergy. Rabbis and other clergy should not fear liability when providing support that is consistent with their Jewish values.
JCPA urges Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 1975), which would permit health care providers to deliver abortion services without limitations that are more burdensome than those imposed on medically comparable procedures, do not significantly advance patient health or the safety of abortion, or make abortion more difficult to access. Medically unnecessary regulations increase costs, decrease efficiency and number of providers, and delay procedures, negatively impacting the quality of safe and legal abortion and shuttering clinics across the country. With the significant increase in restrictive or unconstitutional state laws, now is the time to address these dangerous measures with federal legislation.
Dissent: The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America has long standing policy of not joining in JCPA [statements] on reproductive rights: “[The Orthodox Union] cannot endorse a public policy that does not reflect the complex response of halacha to the abortion issue. In most circumstances, the halacha proscribes abortion, but there are cases in which halacha permits and indeed mandates abortion. Abortion is a critically serious matter and, as such, personal decisions in this area should be made in consultation with recognized halachic authorities.”