The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Indiana Board of Rabbis (IBOR) strongly urge our representatives in the Indiana General Assembly to reconsider further restrictions on access to abortion in this state. Proposals that ban abortion, including in cases of rape, incest, or undue risk to the pregnant woman infringe on the separation of religion and state, and prohibit members of the Jewish community from freely exercising deeply held religious principles.
Jewish beliefs on when life begins are varied, yet consistent in the view that a fetus is part of the pregnant woman and not an independent human being. Under Jewish law, abortion is not only permissible in certain instances but is required if necessary to protect the physical and mental health of the pregnant woman. The Indianapolis JCRC and IBOR cannot support absolute bans on abortion that would forbid access to abortion in lifesaving situations. Moreover, we believe that the physical and mental health of the pregnant woman are of the utmost importance, and we vigorously oppose any legislation that does not permit access to abortion at a minimum when Jewish law compels it.
The Jewish concept of Pikuach Nefesh, preservation of life, is paramount. Judaism holds that all life is sacred and while a fetus has the potential for life, such potential never supersedes the life of the pregnant woman. The Jewish community regards any absolute ban on abortion as a violation of our rights as Americans to freely exercise our religion and the imposition of one group’s religious beliefs on all.
The Indianapolis JCRC and IBOR will remain steadfast advocates on behalf of our community on issues of human rights and religious freedom.