May 3, 2022
The Central Conference of American Rabbis is deeply disturbed by what appears to be the decision of a majority of justices of the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Though we are aware that the leaked draft by Justice Samuel Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is a draft at this point, cause for concern is real, given the known views not only of Justice Alito, but also of Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett—and at least to a degree, of Chief Justice Roberts. If it were to become a Supreme Court decision, the leaked draft would lead to the severe restriction or elimination of abortion rights in about half of U.S. states.
The CCAR proudly participated in an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of the respondent, Jackson Women’s Health, and of reproductive freedom. Until the final moment of a Supreme Court decision, Reform rabbis will continue to advocate for the preservation of Roe v. Wade. If, indeed, a decision similar to the leaked draft is the Court’s decision, CCAR rabbis will continue to oppose state laws that restrict abortion rights. The CCAR will support its members who are in need of abortion care, wherever they live, just as Reform rabbis will be present for members of the communities they serve and for all Americans in need of abortion care—again, wherever they live.
Abortion access is part of comprehensive healthcare. Overturning Roe v. Wade will not stop abortions. What it will do is increase the occurrence of illegal, dangerous abortions, thereby causing unnecessary deaths and suffering. We know that low-income women and all gender non-conforming individuals who can become pregnant will suffer the greatest burden of state abortion bans triggered by a reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Moreover, the decision apparently contemplated by a Supreme Court majority would violate the religious freedom of Jews and others whose religious traditions, like ours, permit abortion.
The CCAR, its members, and communities will not rest in our ongoing struggle for reproductive liberty, working with National Council of Jewish Women, Jews of other movements, women’s and LGBTQ advocacy groups, interfaith partners, and all Americans who join this work for individual bodily autonomy.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, in the strongest terms, urges the Supreme Court not to restrict abortion rights and certainly not to reverse the groundbreaking and liberating decision in Roe v. Wade. If, however, the leaked opinion is in fact a harbinger of a Supreme Court decision soon to come, CCAR rabbis will grieve; and then, without delay, we will act.
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass
Rabbi Hara E. Person
Central Conference of American Rabbis