Judaism is clear about abortion


Dianna Fine and Wendy Flusser , Co-Chairs | 73 Forward - NCJW’s Campaign for Abortion Access   NCJWSTL 

Judaism is clear about abortion. Our tradition not only permits but requires it in circumstances where the pregnant person’s life is in danger. It is one of many reasons why Jews overwhelmingly support abortion by 83% in all or most cases.

Dianna Fine

Judaism also teaches Kavod Ha Bri’ot: Respect and Dignity for all Human Beings. As each of us is made in the image of G-d — B’tselem Elohim (Genesis 1:26) — every single person’s health is paramount and unassailable; we have an obligation to care for and to protect our bodies and our health and ensure all others can do the same.

This means that no matter who we are, where we come from, and how much is in our bank account, we know that access to abortion care is an essential human right. It’s our right to form our families the way we choose, to access the health care we need, to decide whether or when we have children, and to choose how we shape our lives.

It is also a matter of religious freedom. Abortion restrictions impinge on our religious freedom as Jews. Laws that prohibit us from carrying out what our faith tradition tells us are violations of our religious freedom. No religious views should be privileged in our nation’s or states’ laws. It is wrong. Period.


State-by-state and community-by-community, we have seen extreme bans and restrictions on abortion access across the country. Here in Missouri, there were several bills introduced in the legislature targeting reproductive rights, including one that would have outlawed the termination of an ectopic pregnancy if there was a fetal heartbeat, meaning the mother would likely die. This is unconscionable, and we expect even more extreme bills to be filed for the 2023 legislative session.

Anti-abortion extremists have been playing a long game — putting considerable barriers in place to block access to care for years — things like cost, distance, government-mandated delays, or medically unnecessary restrictions have already pushed abortion access out of reach. This burden, and the harms of these attacks on abortion access, fall disproportionately on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Wendy Flusser

NCJWSTL and our partners in the Jewish Community will not stand idly by. We will not stand for bans limiting our bodily autonomy, under the guise of protecting life, when our legislature continues to target our most marginalized communities.

We are working for abortion access that is free from hurdles; that is not challenged continuously in court or punished criminally; that is fully available regardless of zip code, income level, or insurance coverage; and that is free from shame and stigma.

We welcome you to join our efforts going forward. To get involved, or for more information, please contact Jen Bernstein, NCJWSTL Advocacy Manager at [email protected].