What Does Judaism Say About Reproductive Rights?

June 27, 2019

By Rabbi Eli Freedman

In the spirit of lifting up women’s voices, I want to begin with the words of Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel in Boston. She writes, “Women have been wronged.Children have been wronged as well. No one is left untouched in the destructive legislation concerning abortions—especially, of course, women’s bodies, which have been viewed as the property of government.” Rabbi Zecher then goes on to quote this week’s portion, Behar, with the words: “Do not wrong one another, but fear your God; for I the Eternal am your God.”

We consider the specific command “not to wrong another” in light of legislation in Alabama, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, and elsewhere that has robbed women and those who love them of their own agency and, preemptively, in some states, indicted them as potential murderers. Although these heinous behaviors of lawmakers reflect a sinister strategy to get to the Supreme Court, they have trampled human dignity and decency on the way.

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