Convoluted Jewish Arguments in Favor of Abortion Rest on a Misunderstanding of Religious Freedom

The vast majority of American Jews are pro-choice, and this position is generally reflected in the beliefs of the liberal denominations. And while Orthodox rabbis tend to take a restrictive stance on abortion, they too overwhelming permit—and occasionally mandate—the termination of pregnancies in certain extreme circumstances. But some Jewish groups have gone a step further to claim that state or federal prohibitions on abortion violate Jews’ religious freedom. Howard Slugh and Tal Fortgang explain:

A congregation that purports to follow “Cosmic Judaism” filed a lawsuit against Florida. The complaint challenges restrictions on abortion on two grounds. First, that Jewish law sometimes permits or even requires abortions. Second, that supporters of abortion restrictions are sometimes motivated by Christian beliefs. They claim that, for each of those reasons, the statute violates the First Amendment.

While the complaint purports to describe “Jewish law,” this group is, by its own admission, unique in its practices and was founded by a rabbi who rejects “the God of the Bible.” . . . These arguments are not solely the province of fringe sects, [however]. The Reform rabbi Danya Ruttenberg made similar arguments in a recent Atlantic article. . . . Rabbi Ruttenberg’s positions reflect an emergent view within progressive Judaism.

The legal complaint argues that because some people have religious motivations for restricting abortion, the Florida law violates Jews’ rights by “unconstitutionally establishing religion.” Ruttenberg mirrors this claim when she argues that abortion regulations “enshrine specific Christian concepts” into the law and “trample over other understandings of when life begins.”

These arguments are badly misplaced, to put it mildly. There are secular reasons why someone might support abortion regulation.

Read more at National Review

More about: Abortion, American Judaism, Freedom of Religion, U.S. Constitution

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy