Reproductive rights are human rights

This Mother’s Day feels like the time for action rather than celebration. On Monday, Politico published a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision that would eviscerate Roe v. Wade, the seminal decision that gave women control over whether or not to end a pregnancy.

As a human rights organization rooted in Jewish values that has been working on reproductive justice in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for decades, AJWS simply cannot remain silent in the face of such a blatant attack on our humanity.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, the justices’ leaked opinion sends a clear message: The power to determine whether or not to continue a pregnancy—and if, when and how you parent and sustain your family with dignity—may soon be no longer up to you. Instead of flowers and a card for Mother’s Day, our country has received a justice system increasingly ruled by religious fundamentalism, steadily severing people’s agency over their own bodies.

While this is not an official decision—abortion is still legal in the U.S. today and there’s still time for our voices to be heard—the language is deeply disturbing. This potential ruling would have devastating effects on everyone in this country, especially those from marginalized communities and people of color, and it would undermine U.S. efforts to support human rights and health worldwide. It would be a stunning violation of women’s rights, human rights, gender equality, bodily autonomy, religious freedom… the list goes on. At a time when the rest of the world is moving towards the legalization of abortion, the U.S. cannot afford to go back.

As a woman and as a mother, my outrage is personal. And it’s also Jewish: When it comes to the narrative about abortion and religious freedom in the U.S., we must remember that not all faiths are anti-choice. In fact, Jewish tradition—even dating back to Talmudic law—views the life and rights of the pregnant person as paramount. Long before there was a Mother’s Day, Jewish sages were teaching that the life of the mother matters most.

Acting on these values, AJWS will continue the fight to ensure that women, trans men, intersex people and anyone with a uterus has the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and their futures. While we don’t work on domestic issues here in the U.S., I promise you that we will continue to stand in solidarity with reproductive justice advocates here at home—and will continue to directly support those fighting this fight around the world, from Kenya to the Dominican Republic to India.

This Mother’s Day, I hope you will celebrate a mother or mother figure in your life by fighting for abortion justice.

Here are three ways you can channel your anger into action right now: