9: Reflections on faith-based abortion advocacy as the US faces a future without Roe: a conversation with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

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The US has a long history of faith-based advocacy for reproductive rights. From the activities of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion in the years before Roe v Wade, the campaigning and lobbying of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, or the involvement of Black faith leaders in the Reproductive Justice movement. This chapter takes the form of an in-depth interview in which Rabbi Ruttenberg discusses her experiences mobilising the Jewish community to activate around abortion justice, the basis of her personal commitment to the issue and her articulation of abortion justice from within a religious framing.

The chapter explores the legacy of Jewish clergy participation in abortion advocacy in the US, the National Council of Jewish Women’s work in this area, and the challenges they face in a Christian-dominated political and religious landscape. As years of rollback in reproductive healthcare come to a head with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, Rabbi Ruttenberg discusses the response from faith communities. She reflects on the opportunities that exist for Jewish congregations to impact the public discourse on abortion and her hopes and fears for the future of reproductive health, rights and justice in the US.

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