Today, on what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we take a moment to reflect on the state of access to reproductive health care in this country.
All of us on Team Zioness remember where we were when the decision came down in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in summer of 2022, signaling the end of Roe and federal protections for abortion access. Since Roe was decided in 1973, we have all lived under the shadow of the threat that Roe could be overturned. When our worst fears were realized, it was devastating nonetheless.
We’ve long understood that Roe was the floor – not the ceiling – in terms of eliminating any barrier to access for patients seeking abortion care. And we knew that, even with the protection of Roe, so many patients across the country still struggled to access the health care that is our human right. Patients of color, low-income patients, young people, and members of the LGBTQ+ community all faced, and continue to face, disproportionate barriers to accessing quality, affordable reproductive health care.
Decimating access to abortion doesn’t take away the need for abortion care – it only makes it increasingly difficult to obtain.
Abortion care is incredibly common, and safe. One in four women will have an abortion during their reproductive years. Yet in 2021, states enacted 108 abortion bans and restrictions — a record number in any one year since 1973.
We are Zionists, and, against all the odds, we have been victorious in the fight for our lives, our bodies, and our liberation. Our religious tradition not only permits abortion, but in some cases mandates it in order to save a pregnant person’s life. Our advocacy around abortion access is inspired by the Jewish value of kavod ha’briyot: respect for individual dignity. Bodily autonomy must be afforded equally to people of ALL genders, with an emphasis on reproductive freedoms.
Every patient deserves the right to determine the trajectory of their lives, including when and whether to become a parent.
Today’s anniversary reminds us never to give up in the fight for access, and to always strive for a world in which no patient has obstacles placed in their path to abortion care.