Letters | Abortion and Lawmaking

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Human Life Is Worth the Inconvenience

Abortion is only troublesome if human life is special (“Where Religion Falls Short,” Jan. 31). If it is not special, then a woman’s decision to abort her pregnancy would be of no more moment than for any other medical procedure.

As a Jew, I would never wish to force upon a woman the burden of caring for a child that she does not want. But upward of a million abortions per year are performed in the United States. The numbers are clearly beyond the usual rape, incest and for the health of the mother reasons. The attitude toward abortion is so cavalier that a woman can abort for no reason at all.

Apart from any religious dogma, societies the world over prosecute murder because as a species we do consider human life worth protecting. Given our special Jewish history as victims of attitudes wherein Jews were not thought deserving of protection from murder, it saddens me that so many of my fellows think that women would be relegated to second-class status were Roe v. Wade overturned.

Safe and legal abortions were performed long before the Roe decision in 1973. In Philadelphia before Roe, two doctors would sign a note certifying that ending a pregnancy was for the health of the mother and a dilatation and evacuation would be performed. Is it such a nuisance to require a step or two before an abortion? An inconvenience? Is human life special?

I have no opinion whether New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is an apostate to his religious upbringing, but I do wish Jewish opinion leaders were more sensitive to the implications of abortion on demand.

Stanley R. Askin | Elkins Park

Leave Religion Out of Lawmaking

I know that some in our community believe that more progressive Jews put abortion rights above other important issues to the Jewish community that should be of higher priority (“Where Religion Falls Short,” Jan. 31). I see the issue as clearly important to our community. Those wishing to make abortion illegal do so out of sincerely held religious beliefs.

As a religious minority, it’s important that we fight to keep religious belief separate from laws. Many of those who fear the implementation of Sharia law around the world have no problem fighting for laws that are based in their own religion’s tradition. Even our beloved Jewish state of Israel doesn’t force its citizens to adhere to the beliefs of the majority. l

Jeffrey L. Erlbaum | Lafayette Hill

2 COMMENTS

  1. If keeping abortion rates down were truly the goal here, we would have affordable health care for women, better access to birth control, child care and support for working families, and comprehensive sex education for all. There is no better way to prevent abortions than allowing women the freedom and ability to control their reproductive health, particularly by allowing them to prevent conception in the first place.

    Instead, our country limits sex education, keeps medication and treatments prohibitively expensive, puts the most reliable and affordable birth control (condoms) in the hands of men, makes it difficult for women to have children and remain in the workforce, and has drastically rising maternal mortality rates. America is failing its women.

  2. I must respectfully disagree with Robin Neill’s comment. Consumer Reports did an article in its Health Newsletter (a different publication from the magazine) in the spring of 2017. Walmart stores, Walmart.com, Walgreens and Rite-Aid will sell a woman (with a valid prescription, of course) a 30-day supply of the pill for between $10 and $30 a month depending on the brand and dosage. Women can also get free/low cost birth control from Planned Parenthood. This is not expensive — expensive is people with chronic health conditions such as cancer, COPD, asthma, etc., paying hundreds of dollars a month for co-pays for medicines they need to stay alive. As far as abortion, I have never understood how many Jews can be for abortion yet decry the Holocaust. I can understand and support abortion if the baby will have serious defects, if the mother’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. But those cases are a small percentage of the reasons for abortion.

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