Reform Jewish Leader Condemns Today's Supreme Court Ruling on Late Term Abortions
Saperstein: When medical decisions are taken out of the hands of women and their doctors, an injustice has been done. Women are capable of making sound medical and moral decisions without government interference.
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April 18, 2007, Washington, DC- In response to today’s Supreme Court ruling in Gonzales v. Panned Parenthood and Gonzales v. Carhart, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today’s ruling upholding the federal ban on late term abortions is a tragic attack on women’s reproductive rights. Again, the incremental chipping away at the rights established by the Roe v. Wade decision and affirmed in the Court’s previous ruling in 2000 overturning a state ban on this procedure, leads us closer to the full eradication of women’s reproductive rights. The Union for Reform Judaism was proud to join an amicus brief in support of Planned Parenthood, and it is clear that today’s ruling has perpetrated a great injustice upon every woman in America.
Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion states that the ban’s opponents “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases.” His disregard for the rights of the so-called “fraction” of women who, for a range of reasons, including the preservation of their own lives, need specific reproductive health services, is heartless and insensitive.
Today’s decision to overturn the related rulings of six lower courts compromises the health, wellbeing, and safety of women throughout our nation. It places the ideological inclinations of five Supreme Court Justices over the expertise of the medical establishment, including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, a body that has deemed late term abortions to be necessary in certain cases and medically sound when provided by trained physicians. When medical decisions are taken out of the hands of women and their doctors, an injustice has been done. Women are capable of making sound medical and moral decisions without government interference.
This Court decision, which indicates that no exception be made when a woman’s health is at risk, fundamentally violates the right of every woman in this nation to have sovereignty over her body. We will continue to fight for the rights of women to determine their own reproductive destiny and ensure that women throughout this country have the access they deserve to the full range of high quality medical care.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the
Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.