The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) released a short video on April 9 proclaiming its opposition to a federal judge’s ruling two days prior to overturning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the “abortion pill” mifepristone.
JFNA stated it was “deeply troubled” by the court ruling and said the FDA has deemed the drug to be “extremely safe and effective for over two decades.” The judge’s ruling “is counter to our policy priority that reproductive health should be protected and that everyone should be able to follow their personal religious beliefs on these matters without government interference.”
Matthew Kacsmaryk, a district court judge who then-President Donald Trump appointed, ruled that the FDA violated federal standards in 2000 when it approved the drug, which is used to cause abortions during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Less than an hour later, Thomas Rice, another district court judge, ruled that the FDA could not restrict mifepristone in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
By April 14, Samuel Alito Jr., a Supreme Court associate justice, ordered that Kacsmaryk’s ruling be “administratively stayed” until 11:59 p.m. EST on April 19, though late Wednesday afternoon, the stay was extended to Friday, April 21.
According to the Pew Research Center Religious Landscape Study—conducted in 2007 and 2014, with responses from 35,000 Americans—83% of self-identified Jews said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 15% of Jews said it should be illegal in all or most cases.
When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, JFNA stated it was “extremely concerned about the medical risks this decision poses.”
Despite a preponderance of American Jews that believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, JNFA leadership issued a “joint statement” in a different context on March 15, stating that “the essence of democracy is both majority rule and protection of minority rights.”