To begin, a lot of electrons have already been agitated responding to the general outcry to today’s Supreme Court decision to upend Roe vs. Wade. As the rabbi of Congregation Beth Ami, I go on record in voicing my concern at a decision that, for all practical considerations, takes away the freedom for a woman or a couple to be able to legitimately and safely terminate a pregnancy.
There are a number of significant issues to consider in voicing concern at this turn of events.
  • The decision of the US Supreme Court to refer the question at hand to each individual state appears legal sophistry simply to avoid the Constitutional principle of the Separation of Church and State.
  • Before this decision, a person had a right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. If their culture or belief supported carrying a fetus to term, they were free to make that decision. If their culture supported the option of terminating the pregnancy, they were equally free to make that decision. Since, in reality, many state houses are under the control of anti-liberal/progressive legislators, that freedom is being taken away.
  • The decision to repeal Roe-v-Wade may be motivated by a sincere desire to protect the unborn child, specifically to prevent using abortion as “contraception.” In fact, however, it turns out – I am told – that such a scenario is extremely rare. Most cases involve the health of the mother or the child or tragically may be related to victims of rape.
  • Space and time prevent me from specifying further situations.
Over the last seven years we are witnessing a shift in US politics; a shift away from a constitutional form of government. I have no doubt in my mind that our former administration openly and, in secret did everything in their power to move this country to despotic rule. It is shocking to see how close they came to achieving their goals. It is even more shocking to realize that there are millions of voting Americans who consider such policies laudable.
We are still blessed to be living in a country where – despite all efforts to the contrary – the citizenry has the right (should I say “privilege?”) to use the ballot box to determine their future. I understand that during the election that got us the previous president, more people simply didn’t bother to vote at all.
The fate of the United States rests on the shoulders of its citizens. Is it possible that the recent decision of the US Supreme Court could have actually been avoided, had enough of us cast our consciences?
Clearly it isn’t enough to vote only in national elections. We should certainly do everything we can to protest this – and other attacks on our religious freedom. Preserving one of the greatest privileges we possess as citizens of the United States requires us to exercise the power we have to sustain that freedom.
It may take some time, it certainly will take a dedicated effort, but if we take the actions needed to restore the right to personal religious conscience, we may yet see the foundations of our blessed country stand firm.
In trust, hope and prayer,
Rabbi Mordecai Miller