IVF1 Support for Religious Freedom

IVF1 is a deeply religious organization. We see as our mandate that we have a religious obligation to treat infertility. We are honored to live and work in the United States of America where Religious Freedom is cherished. We oppose any efforts to have others impose their religious beliefs on us. Consequently, we fully support the resolution of the Rabbinical Assembly which in turn supports reproductive freedom. The following is adapted from the Rabbinical Assembly website. The full text can be found here.

The Rabbinical Assembly

The Rabbinical Assembly, first established in 1901 by graduates of the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary, is the international association of Conservative/Masorti rabbis. Today its ranks include rabbis ordained at the seminaries of the Conservative/Masorti movement as well as rabbis of other accredited rabbinical schools who accept the tenets of Conservative Judaism.

The mandate of the Rabbinical Assembly is to kindle the passion of the Jewish People in the service of God, Torah and Klal Yisrael, to strengthen the Conservative/Masorti movement, and to support the Conservative/Masorti rabbi. Its nearly 1,700 members serve as congregational rabbis, educators, military and hospital chaplains, professors of Judaica, and officers of communal service organizations throughout the world. While the majority of the men and women of the Assembly serve in the United States and Canada, more than ten percent of its rabbis serve in Israel and many of its rabbis serve in Latin America, in the countries of Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Rabbinical Assembly Support for Reproductive Freedom

Recent legislative efforts in the United States on both the federal and state levels pose new threats to reproductive freedom. These threats include 1) the personhood movement which defines life as beginning at conception, 2) legislative efforts to require ultrasounds prior to abortion, and 3) fetal-homicide laws.

Whereas Jewish tradition cherishes the sanctity of life, including the potential of life which a pregnant woman carries within her, but does not believe that personhood and human rights begin with conception, rather with birth as indicated by Exodus 21:22-23 and Leviticus 24:17;

Whereas the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly has affirmed the right of a woman to choose an abortion in cases where “continuation of a pregnancy might cause the mother severe physical or psychological harm, or where the fetus is judged by competent medical opinion as severely defective”; and

Whereas access to information, education, and services on voluntary planning prevents unplanned pregnancies, thereby preventing abortions, but denying a woman and her family full access to the complete spectrum of reproductive healthcare, including contraception, abortion-inducing devices, and abortions, among others, on religious grounds, deprives these women of their Constitutional right to religious freedom (e.g. the ability to fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply may be jeopardized by the criminalization of certain fertility treatments due to personhood laws).

Therefore, be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge its members to support full access for all women to the entire spectrum of reproductive healthcare;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge its members to oppose all efforts by governmental, private entities or individuals to limit such access or to require unnecessary procedures; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge its members to oppose “personhood” legislation on the federal and state levels that would confer legal rights under the law to a fetus or an embryo.

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly urge the President, Congress, and State legislatures to support full access for all women to the entire spectrum of reproductive healthcare; to oppose all efforts by governmental, private entities or individuals to limit such access or to require unnecessary procedures; and to oppose “personhood” legislation on the federal and state levels that would confer legal rights under the law to a fetus or an embryo.