Throughout the USA, and especially in diverse Asheville, freedom of religion is a constitutionally protected right. Western North Carolina has synagogues, churches and various spiritual communities. We are truly a community that honors enlightenment in any form. Different religions have different understandings of when life begins. In Judaism, life begins at breath, not at conception. The fetus is a potential life that never takes precedence over the life of the pregnant person. For that reason, it is imperative that we make sure abortion stays safe and accessible for everyone.
Bans on abortion aren’t just a violation of the human right to bodily autonomy; they’re a violation of our religious rights as Jews. Abortion care is health care, and health care is a human right. Jewish teachings command us to care for everyone. Abortion access is a Jewish value, and bans on abortion are a violation of Jewish religious freedom and human rights.
Now that North Carolina has made 20 weeks the cutoff time for a legal abortion, think about pregnancies that are not progressing normally, or the woman has medical problems with her pregnancy. This ban will have significant impact on our community’s women’s reproductive health care. Our local Planned Parenthood is experiencing an influx of women from out of state seeking help. The ban will also impact social service needs in every state that abortion is illegal. We will all bear the burden of the abortion ban.
— Mena Kates
Carolina Jews for Justice
Reproductive Justice Team