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January 22: Roe v. Wade and Church-State Separation

January 22, 2013
As this 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision approached, Rabbi Robert N. Levine of New York's Rodeph Sholom congregation noted that "Roe is about so much more than delineating trimester by trimester rights for women, or determining when life begins or when there is viability of the fetus. To my mind Roe v. Wade. . . takes on the question of whether the government, law enforcement, male-dominated institutions have the power to control basic decisions about women's lives. Those who yearn to repeal Roe v. Wade really want to correct the 'illusion' that women can make decisions about their own bodies and lives." Roe, determined by a 7-2 vote, changed or modified the law in forty-six states. According to a recent CNN survey, nearly nine in ten American Jews say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do about seven in ten Americans with no religious affiliation and 63 percent of white mainline Protestants. Among black Protestants and white Catholics, 54 percent say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. To read JEWDAYO editor Lawrence Bush's essay, "Abortion and Religious Freedom," click here. "The fundamentalist right tries to tell us that Scripture explicitly sides against choice. They are wrong! Listen carefully: There is not a single verse, not a single verse in any Bible outlawing abortion." —Rabbi Robert N. Levine