June 24, 2022
The Central Conference of American Rabbis condemns, in the strongest terms, the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and deplores the reversal of the precedent set a half-century ago in Roe v. Wade. Roe guaranteed a right to reproductive health care, enabling tens of millions of pregnant people to terminate pregnancies that threatened their wellbeing. Now we face a terrifying future: hundreds of millions of Americans, in about half of the fifty states, will lack access to safe and legal abortion care.
The CCAR proudly participated in an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of Jackson Women’s Health Organization and of reproductive freedom.
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 death 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. This ruling will harm not only countless individuals, but also their families and communities.
This decision violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free exercise of religion for Jews and others whose religious traditions, like ours, permit abortion. Moreover, this ruling is a violation of the principle of the separation of church and state, a cherished ideal of our unique American democracy.
The CCAR, its members, and communities will not rest in our ongoing struggle for reproductive liberty, working with all our Reform Movement partner organizations, as well as the 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 and privacy.
In the strongest terms, CCAR rabbis call on Congress to enact federal legislation guaranteeing a right to safe and legal abortion for all within our nation’s borders. Reform 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. The CCAR supports our rabbis who will now choose to participate in civil disobedience if necessary to save the lives of and ensure access to healthcare for pregnant people.
At this terrifying moment in American history for all people who can become pregnant and for all who love them, Reform rabbis stand ready to comfort the afflicted and to act on behalf of all who need any kind of reproductive health care, including abortion care.
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis