At the beginning of 2012 I wrote on RACblog: “As we move into the 2012 election year, the war on women has become more extreme and effective.” Not only did this prove to be true (it’s hard to forget the offensive rhetoric spewed by so many candidates across the country in 2012 elections), but states have continued to pass laws since then, which have stripped women of their right to choose when, how and if to have a family, or have created socioeconomically-based barriers that restrict access to reproductive health services.
That’s why Morgan Meneses-Sheets’s piece in Truthout (the program manager for Reproductive Health Technologies Project – a strong partner with the RAC on our reproductive justice initiatives) really struck a chord with me.
Before you read on, keep in mind how wholly our reproductive rights advocacy efforts are informed by our Jewish values. While it often feels as though the Religious Right has a monopoly on the faith-based perspective on reproductive rights, this doesn’t need to be the case. In the Mishnah we read, “If a woman’s labor becomes life threatening, the one to be born is dismembered in her abdomen…for her life comes before the life of the fetus.” From this and other Talmudic passages we learn that, while all life is sacred, the life of a mother has more value than the life of an unborn fetus. Additionally, when considering the health of the mother, we consider her physical, spiritual and emotional health – her body and her nefesh (soul). Abortion is a deeply personal issue, and the decision of when life begins is often a religious one.
Check out Morgan’s piece here, or read it below: