January 20: The ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded on this date in 1920 by a committee that included Felix Frankfurter, who would become a Supreme Court justice nineteen years later, and Morris Ernst, who served as the organization’s general counsel for thirty years (1929-59). Ernst had, three years earlier, co-founded the National Civil Liberties Bureau, […]

Read More

October 17: The Creator of Norplant

Sheldon Segal, a biochemist who in 1991 developed Norplant, a progestin-based, slow-release subcutaneous birth control treatment, died at 83 on this date in 2009. Norplant proved to be a controversial medical device and was ultimately removed from the market twelve years after it was approved by the FDA. By then, several judges had ordered its […]

Read More

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

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 […]

Read More

O My America: Abortion and Religious Freedom, Part 2

by Lawrence Bush For Part 1 of this article, click here. Two fundamental concepts underlie the Jewish belief that the mother’s life always takes precedence over the unborn child’s, according to Rabbi Schiff’s Abortion in Judaism. Rashi, the great Talmudic commentator of 11th-century France, attributed it to the fetus’s lack of standing as a nefesh, […]

Read More

O My America: Abortion and Religious Freedom, Part 1

by Lawrence Bush While the movement for reproductive rights still has the numbers on its side — a majority of Americans, forty years after Roe v. Wade, still favor continued legal access to abortion, at the very least in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening pregnancy — the slogan, “a woman’s right to choose,” has […]

Read More

Putting the "Freedom" back in "Reproductive Freedom"

by Alyssa Goldstein Anyone who’s been paying attention to the news and to the presidential campaign probably knows that this is an increasingly scary time to be an American woman. Not only are many states passing laws which are making abortions difficult or impossible to obtain, but even contraception has become a contentious political issue. […]

Read More