Patch.com: Veto Heartbeat Abortion Ban

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Jewish Federation of Cleveland to Governor Kasich: 'Veto Heartbeat Abortion Ban'

Article reprinted with permission from Beachwood Patch.

By Chris Mosby

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland issued a strongly worded statement urging Governor John Kasich to veto the 'Heartbeat' Abortion bill that would ban abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy.

The decision to issue any kind of statement on this issue is groundbreaking for the Federation. Historically, the organization has tried to stay out of any abortion-related legislation in an attempt to recognize the varying viewpoints within Cleveland's Jewish community.

However, the Federation felt that this piece of legislation represented a threat to religious freedom for the whole Jewish community, says Jessica Cohen, managing director of community relations for the Federation.

The bill offers almost no exceptions for abortions after the six week mark - or when a fetus' heartbeat can first be detected - and that includes religious exemptions.

"The Jewish community and those that are Jewish observant would be consulting a rabbi in these situations and the bill does not allow for rabbinic ruling to supersede the law," Cohen says. "Women make these decisions with their doctors and their religious leaders."

With a little over a week to decide the bill's fate, the Federation is hoping to add its voice, and the voice of the Cleveland Jewish community, to the chorus of organizations that are urging Kasich to veto the bill.

"We wanted to get our voice out there as quickly as possible and we wanted to make a statement to the community and mobilize them to call the governor and make our collective voice heard," Cohen says.

You can read the Federation's statement, in full, below.

Join the Federation in opposing the enactment of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill in Ohio, which would ban almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected (about six weeks following conception). Though historically, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland has not taken a stance on reproductive policy, in light of the extreme nature of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, we are compelled to oppose the bill. This bill imposes excessive restrictions that would strictly limit a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, even under circumstances resulting from mental health, and improperly ignores religious concerns. It takes medical decisions out of the hands of doctors by criminalizing those medical practitioners who perform procedures outside the narrow prescriptions of the bill.

If signed into law by Governor Kasich, Ohio would have the most restrictive abortion bill in the nation. According to legal experts, the law likely will be ruled unconstitutional.

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