Central Conference of American Rabbis Files Amicus Brief in Indiana Abortion Case

June 26, 2024

In brief, Reform Jewish rabbinate argues against thinly veiled charges of religious insincerity made by the State of Indiana against Reform Jews

Indianapolis, IN – Two years after the Supreme Court gutted abortion access in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Central Conference of American Rabbis filed an amicus brief in Indiana as the state Supreme Court considers a case challenging the state’s abortion ban.

Crucially, the CCAR argues against assertions made by the State of Indiana and other amici, including the Indiana Catholic Conference, that Reform Jews are acting insincerely in their opposition to the abortion ban, using their religion as a front for “personal, philosophical, or political objections to Indiana’s law.”

The brief reads:

“The CCAR addresses the issue before the Court because of its commitment to securing for those within the American Jewish community the freedom to make reproductive health care decisions according to their religious commitments. The CCAR’s members are guided by Jewish tradition, which teaches that health care, including, as understood by the CCAR, reproductive health care, is an essential form of service that every community should provide and make available to all. The CCAR also understands access to abortion to be an issue of religious liberty, which the Jewish community has greatly valued and supported as a freedom of fundamental importance in American society.”


“Frankly, it’s rare for CCAR to issue an amicus brief on our own. But the assertions made by the defense that only Ultra-Orthodox Jews should enjoy the protections of the First Amendment, and not all Jews, are wildly odious and offensive, and we needed to step in. Neither the State, nor those religious organizations defending these bans, may determine the authenticity of who is a Jew, or of any person of faith. Further, Reform Jews sincerely consult and reflect on Jewish moral tradition when making decisions, and Jewish moral and rabbinic tradition permits, supports, even mandates tradition in certain circumstances. Every person of every faith deserves the freedom to make their own decisions that align with their own traditions,” said Central Conference of American Rabbis CEO Rabbi Hara Person.

The CCAR has a long history of affirming people’s right to control their own body, including their right to access a safe and legal abortion, having consistently gone on record with its support since 1967. In May 2022, reacting to the leak of the Supreme Court’s eventual Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, CCAR CEO Rabbi Hara Person wrote, “We are proud that Jewish tradition regards abortion as essential health care, not only permitting the termination of pregnancy, but even requiring it when the life of the pregnant person is in danger. Restricting access to reproductive health care impedes the freedom of religion granted by the First Amendment, including a Jewish person’s ability to make decisions in accordance with their religious beliefs.”

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) is the Reform Rabbinic leadership organization. The CCAR strengthens the Jewish community by providing religious, spiritual, ethical and intellectual leadership and wisdom. CCAR and its members lead the Reform Movement on important spiritual, social, cultural and human rights issues, as it has done since 1889. CCAR also is the center for lifelong rabbinic learning, professional development, and resources for the more than 2,100 rabbis who serve more than 2 million Reform Jews throughout North America, Israel and the world. Since its founding, the CCAR has also served as the primary publisher of the Reform Movement through CCAR Press and its imprint Reform Judaism Publishing.

Contact: Marissa Solomon, 734-330-0807, marissa@pythiapublic.com