Remarks from Rabbi Eliana Fischel at Jewish Gathering for Abortion Access

April 19, 2024Rabbi Eliana Fischel

The following blog post is adapted from remarks given by Rabbi Eliana Fischel, Associate Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington D.C., during a Jewish community gathering just before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine regarding the future of Mifepristone, one of two medications commonly used in medication abortion. 

Take action by urging your member of Congress to protect Mifepristone and other fundamental reproductive rights.

Good morning. I am Rabbi Eliana Fischel from Washington Hebrew Congregation. While I am honored to be here with all of you this morning. I am also annoyed. I am annoyed that we have to come to Capitol Hill to protect a drug that is so obviously safe and so obviously life saving. I am annoyed that judges, who are supposed to protect not just our people but our laws, have so undermined their authority and their morals. I am annoyed that our religious ethics, our texts and our faith, are not considered the religious voice on issues of reproductive rights. But most of all, I am annoyed that in this case, a government institution, actually, acted correctly. The FDA did what it was supposed to do. They tested and verified and made sure female bodies were safe. And still, there are those in our country who fight their ruling just to control those female bodies.

As Jews, we are mandated to honor governmental decisions. The dictum, Dina d'malkhuta dina, or the law of the land is the law, has guided and protected us for generations. The FDA ruling on Mifepristone's safety is the law of the land. This ruling does not just hold water because the FDA is a governmental agency. This safety check is done by experts. By doctors and scientists. By educated people, who actually have the degrees to say they have the right to rule on the safety of this medication. Our religion demands that we listen to them. Our religion demands that we honor this government's ruling: that this medication is safe and useful. This adherence to the law is even more important when the issue at hand is about life or death. Mifepristone is a tool towards Pekuach nefeshpikuach nefeshפִּקּוּחַ נֶפֶשׁThe concept that saving a life overrides all other biblical commandments. , towards saving a life.

As we prepare to march to the Supreme Court, we join together in prayer:

Mishabeirach imoteinu, Holy One of our Mothers, be with us today as we stand with the FDA, as we stand with the experts and the educated, as we stand with women, as we stand as law-abiding citizens of America to protect this medication and protect lives.

And we say together,

Amen.

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