B’nai B’rith Women, the National Council of Jewish Women and the American Jewish Congress have gone on record as vocal opponents of President Reagan’s recent attempt to induce the Supreme Court to overturn its 1973 ruling legalizing abortion.
In response to Reagan’s urging that the Court reverse its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, leaders of the three organizations issued strong statements supporting a woman’s constitutional right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. The American Jewish Congress statement read, in part:
Roe v. Wade affirmed the right of a woman to decide whether to bear a child. It put an end to back-alley abortions and significantly enhanced the dignity of all women. The Administration’s call to turn back the clock to those days is shocking…
“Given its failure to marshal sufficient support for a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion, and given polls which show consistently that a substantial majority of American support the Roe v. Wade decision, the Administration is now pursuing the extraordinary course of calling upon the Court to reverse itself. We are confident that the Court will not do so, and we pledge, in concert with other religious and civic groups, to continue to safeguard the right of women to be sovereign over their own bodies.”
The organizations’ responses to the Reagan initiative are in keeping with the long-standing support of Jewish women, and the American Jewish community as a whole, for the pro-choice position. This was confirmed in a recent national survey conducted by B’nai B’rith Women which revealed that, while a majority of Jewish and non-Jewish women believed that “every woman who wants an abortion ought to be able to have one,” a full 91% of the Jewish women polled supported that contention.