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Sharing Stories of Abortion

03/01/2023 09:43:58 AM


Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon

On June 24th of last year, the Supreme Court announced that it was overturning 50 years of abortion protection in our country. Since then, we have witnessed 13 states enact bans on abortion, other states attempt to enact bans that were blocked, and others implement significant restrictions. As I shared in a recent sermon (which you can watch HERE, or read HERE), Jewish scholarship includes a broad range of opinions about abortion. But on one issue nearly every Jewish authority agrees: government has no place in these decisions.

The stories of our lives are the context for all our decisions. When we share our stories, our perspectives broaden, and our understanding deepens. Some of our most bitter feelings of shame, regret, anger, and fear become easier to bear when someone else knows our story and helps us hold the emotions. 
I want to hear your stories about abortion. Maybe you’ve had an abortion. Maybe you chose not to have one. Maybe you had a partner who had an abortion, or who chose not to have one; maybe you were aligned with their decision, or maybe it was hard for you. Maybe the person who gave birth to you considered having an abortion but gave you life instead. Maybe your parent did have an abortion, and that choice enabled them to later become pregnant with you. 

A team consisting of myself, Cantor Barbara, Batya Etzbach-Dale, Emily Greenwald, and Shoshana Williams have created a form (click HERE) to gather stories. The contents of the form will not be viewed by anyone outside the team who created it. The form also does not collect any identifying information, unless you choose to provide it.  You can also send your story directly to me, by email or by US mail. 

Alternatively, or additionally we have volunteers who have offered to listen to stories shared orally. Our volunteers are not therapists, but they are compassionate listeners who will honor your story. And of course, I welcome anyone to make an appointment to share with me personally, as do Cantor Barbara and Rabbi Ezray.

On June 24th, the anniversary of the supreme court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, we will hold a Yahrzeit Havdalah service.  We will take the time then to share stories aloud; of course, only for those who wish to share publicly, and only after having shared privately first.

Each story has its own texture that deepens our understanding. Through this project, I hope to hear stories of relief and joy, and of regret and shame. Of loss and disappointment. Of anger and frustration. Of indecision and uncertainty. Of determination and hope. Each one is an important piece of our limited human understanding. It is only when we weave together the many, many stories of humanity, that we come close to comprehending divinity.

Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784