Central Conference of American Rabbis Denounces Proposed Ohio Bill to Restrict Women's Reproductive Liberty

 Thursday, December 8, 2016

Yesterday, the Ohio Legislature ignominiously adopted draconian restrictions on abortion rights. If signed into law, the bill known as HB 493, would impose lengthy prison sentences on physicians who terminate pregnancies as early as the first fetal heartbeat can be detected, often as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, and sometimes before a woman even knows that she is pregnant.

The Central Conference of American Rabbis is alarmed and dismayed by this unconstitutional legislative initiative. We urge Governor John Kasich to veto this attack on women. Failing a veto, we are confident that the bill would never gain the power of law, but would be ruled unconstitutional, like several similar overtures attempted by other states.

Reform Rabbis study and are master-teachers of a long and sacred tradition, with provisions dating back some 2,000 years to place the mother's well-being above that of the fetus that is part of her body.

Reform Rabbis lead an American Jewish community that cherishes the separation of church and state. Just as we do not wish to impose our religious convictions about the status of a fetus on our civil society, we will not stand idly by while the religious convictions of some restrict the reproductive freedom of all American women are incorporated into state of federal law.

Reform Rabbis and the communities we serve trust American women to make their own decisions about what is best for their own health care, including especially reproductive health care, in consultation with their physicians -- and, if they wish, in conversation with their families, clergy, and other trusted advisors.

This unconstitutional and repugnant initiative of the Ohio legislature must not stand.

Rabbi Denise L. Eger                         Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President                                          Chief Executive

      Central Conference of American Rabbis