As you well know: There is no freedom without reproductive freedom.
Last night, after holding our collective breath for the last 5 years, the moment so many most feared came to fruition. We learned that the Supreme Court of the United States plans to viciously overturn nearly 50 years of established precedent and send 166 million American women back to 1972––a year in which 200 women died performing at-home abortions by, for example, throwing themselves down stairs, drinking poison, or using “instruments” that could help them terminate unwanted pregnancies.
Abortion access is healthcare. Abortion access is human rights, justice, equality, equity, bodily integrity and autonomy. Abortion access is a fundamental right, and without reproductive freedom, there is no freedom––for half the population of our country. Forcing women to give birth and denying us our right to control our bodies and our lives is medieval, barbaric, and merciless. This decision, if it becomes a formal declaration of the highest Court, will end any illusion that America is the home of the free.
In this horrifying moment, instead of infighting or assigning blame among people who share a commitment to expanding reproductive freedom, we must unite to protect every inch of this fundamental right at the local, state, and national levels. A significant majority of Americans support safe, legal abortion and do not support overturning Roe. So together, we must focus on tangible steps, including:
- Senate passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, by any means necessary
- Amending the United States Constitution by passing the Equal Rights Amendment
- Rapid education around availabilty of abortion pills by mail
- Constitutional amendments in every amenable state to enshrine abortion access into law
- Investment into abortion funds in states with the most restrictive laws
- Statewide laws creating safe haven for abortion providers
- Electing pro-choice women up and down the ballot in November and beyond
- Judicial reform that expands the size of the Supreme Court
There is so much more to say: about the legitimacy of our judiciary; about the obligations and responsibilities of the impregnator, on which the Court is entirely silent; about our First Amendment right to religious liberty and the indisputably theocratic elements of any anti-abortion analysis; about the perverse lie that is the term “pro-life”; about the massively disproportionate impact overturning Roe will have on underserved, underrepresented, rural, economically disadvantaged, victimized, single and minority women; about the devastating consequences for Black maternal mortality; about medical safety, economic opportunity and gender equality. But because time is of the essence, the most important message we have is that today, tomorrow, and the next day are days to fight like hell.
So let’s get out there, show up, get loud, and declare that we are not going back. And let’s do it as unabashedly progressive, unapologetically Zionist Jews and allies who have been on the forefront of abortion activism for more than a century in this country. Let’s be loud and proud Zionesses when we show up, at 5pm local time today, at federal courthouses, federal buildings, and town halls across the country, telling the world that our commitment to women’s liberation and reproductive freedom is intrinsically linked to our Jewish, Zionist identities. We believe in the self-determination of all people, and that passion is what fuels us in the fight for women and for Jews.
Many scholars of Jewish text remind us that abortion access is a Jewish mandate. The Torah portion Parashat Mishpatim informs our values on reproductive health access, rights, and justice, and calls us to fight for the bodily integrity and autonomy of the tens of millions of Americans who are most vulnerable to the gut-wrenching future of a world without Roe. So bring everyone you know, and let’s get to it.