The overturning of Roe v. Wade, which takes away the Constitutional protection of abortion rights, means that every state will decide for itself whether abortion should be permitted – and, where prohibited, what exceptions to the law will be honored. In principle, it also means that a nationwide ban on abortion, legislated by Congress, is theoretically back on the table.
Scott spoke with three women, each of whom had an abortion for a different reason, each at a different point in her pregnancy. The point of sharing their stories is not so much to advocate for more liberal abortion laws as to help people internalize the real-life consequences of making abortion more difficult or impossible. The goal was to let each guest simply tell her story so that you, the listener, can decide how that impacts your thinking.
Some Orthodox scholars who support the overturning of Roe v. Wade suggest that while many states are banning abortion, this will have little practical effect on the vast majority of Orthodox Jews. First of all, all halachic authorites agree that abortion is not allowed in all circumstances, and there are accordingly many abortions that violate Jewish law, even according to the more lenient viewpoints. Moreover, because of certain exceptions that have been written into the laws, as well as because of the relative ease of interstate travel, women who do have halachic sanction for abortion will have little trouble obtaining one, either in their current state or by traveling to states that have liberal abortion regimes. To address this, Scott asked Dr. Rivka Press Schwartz, who teaches history at SAR high school and is the associate principal of General studies there, whether this is accurate, and what the real-world consequences of the Dobbs decision are.
3:23 – An anonymous story of an abortion at 32 weeks
29:45 – Abbie’s story of her pregnancy reduction
42:42 – Leah’s story of an abortion after suffering from postpartum depression
1:11:45 – Dr. Schwartz on the legal consequences of Roe v. Wade for Orthodox women
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