In response to the draft of a United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which leaked to the public in early May, the Central Conference of American Rabbis—which believes that abortion access is a Jewish value, a human right, and part of comprehensive healthcare—cosponsored the Jewish Rally for Abortion Justice, presented by National Council of Jewish Women, on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Rabbi Hara Person, CCAR Chief Executive, was asked to address the thousands of attendees in Washington, D.C. Here, we share her remarks.
I stand here today, a Reform rabbi and the Chief Executive of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, in tribute to my great-grandmother, Lena.
I stand here 100 years after my great-grandmother Lena had two knitting needle abortions on her kitchen table. She turned to the best of bad options because she could barely feed the children she had. My great-grandmother was one of the lucky ones. She lived to tell the tale. When abortion became legal in this country, she made sure her family knew her story.
Taking away access to abortion is not pro-life. Banning abortion is about taking power away from and punishing people with uteruses.
I am here to say proudly that Reform rabbis and the Reform Movement believe that abortion access is essential healthcare, a basic human right, and a Jewish value.
Today we have safe options for abortion, and these options must be protected and accessible to all. Taking away abortion access goes against our most deeply held American values of religious liberty and equality. It goes against our Jewish belief of prioritizing an actual life over a potential life.
Reform rabbis and the Reform Movement believes that every one of us should have the right to make personal healthcare decisions based on our own faith and values.
In memory of my great-grandmother, Lena, I will keep fighting for our rights to control our bodies and our lives. The fight will be difficult but what a blessing to be in it with all of you.