The fight to criminalize abortion is a matter of religion, and as a non-Christian it is a violation of mine – The Columbia Chronicle
Whether on social media or on protest signs, the fight to permanently legalize abortion has never stopped since the birth of Roe v. Wade in the 1970s. One thing remains the same in the fight: opposition in the name of Christianity.
Under the First Amendment, all citizens are protected based on the freedoms of speech, of the press, of assembly, the right to petition the government and oh, yes, the right to practice one’s own religion, or no religion of the all.
So when the Texas legislature announced it would fight to criminalize abortion in the state with Senate Bill 8pro-life signaling has made its way into the news.
“Jesus was pro-life,” “pregnancy is not a sin,” read various signs, along with Bible verses, quoting everything from Matthew to John. Warmth shot through my body as I tried to wipe the disbelief from my eyes, like it really could have been that easy.
What about those who are not Christians? Despite because church and state are (arguably) separate in America, American representatives cite religion when abortion is mentioned. Red and blue politics aside, Christianity has been the voice at the center of the abortion debate, despite the number of Americans identifying as Christian fall 12% from 2011 to 2021.
In the end, other religions often get lost in the mix. If the procedure becomes illegal inside the walls of the United States, it would only reinforce the idea that the country is Christocentric, rather than the cultural melting pot it claims to be.
In Judaism, the The Talmud acts as a central text regarding all things Jewish law and theology. The book touches on everything from birth to death, from prayer to livelihoods, and from ethics to love for others. The Talmud also preachess that all life has value, but that a fetus is not a “life” in itself.
The Talmud regards a fetus as “mere water” and is considered a physical component of the wearer’s body, yet having no life or independent rights of its own.
the National Council of Jewish Women is a grassroots organization that strives to improve the quality of life of women and children, as well as to secure their personal rights and freedoms.
The organization noted that Jewish values affirm that existing life is “primary” at all stages of pregnancy and should not be put at risk for the life of the fetus.
“A fetus is not considered a person under Jewish law and therefore does not have the same rights as a person already alive,” said one of the organization’s resource pages. “The fetus is not considered separate from the body of the parent until birth begins and the first breath of oxygen in the lungs allows the soul to enter the body.”
Given that Jewish law clearly defines what happens in the life of a fetus, and its absence, why should a Christian representative dictate how I practice my religion, even though it is a matter that has been politicized and distorted to control women’s bodies?
Even if the rationale for restricting or criminalizing abortion was religious, how could any representative claim they fight for my rights, while interfere with my right to fully exercise my religion?
If God really gave humans the gift of free will, regardless of their religion, then I wonder what it means that the majority of americans believe that abortion should be legal.