I’m the Third Generation of My Family Working For Abortion Access. For Us, It’s About Tikkun Olam.

                                    

7:6 Mishna, Ohalot – ו

האשה שהיא מקשה לילד מחתכין את הולד במעיה ומוציאין אותו אברים אברים מפני שחייה קודמין לחייו יצא רובו אין נוגעין בו שאין דוחין נפש מפני נפש

                                               

If a woman is dying from childbirth, we cut out the child from inside her – because her life comes before the child’s life. But once the majority of the baby is out, we don’t touch it, because we don’t push aside one life for the sake of another                                                

I come from a long line of radical Jews who embodied Tikkun Olam through reproductive justice. 

My grandfather Nachum “Nathan” Subotnik, whom I called ‘Papa Doc’, was a doctor who specialty was Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN). He was also the first person in his family to attend college. When he told his immigrant parents about his plans to attend medical school, they didn’t understand how that could be possible. They were resourceful subsistence farmers from Turkey and Lithuania with fifth-grade educations, and there were quotas that limited the number of Jewish students at universities in the 1930s. But my grandfather was not easily dissuaded. Nathan Subotnik was accepted into medical school in Scotland and later moved back to the United States to practice.