Last week, Washington Jewish Week reported on the creation of In Shifra's Arms, a new crisis pregnancy center (CPC) targeting Jewish women.
I've spent the last two years at FMF organizing students to take part in our Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics. I've traveled the country and seen CPCs of all shapes and sizes, in office buildings and church basements, all close to college campuses and advertising the "choices" they offer. It's a promise on which they never deliver, because a CPC doesn't offer real choices. A CPC offers dangerously false information, condescension, and judgment. It offers short-term support for women who choose to carry their pregnancies to term, in the form of baby clothes, diapers, or parenting classes. But it does not offer the support and trust that women need when they are facing an unplanned pregnancy.
As a proud Jewish feminist, I'm really troubled to see a CPC targeting my community, claiming to be grounded in Jewish ideals. Judaism is actually a remarkably pro-choice and pro-women religion. I encourage you all to check out a great piece on this subject from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. In the essay, Rabbi Raymond A. Zwerin and Rabbi Richard J. Shapiro conclude, "Whatever their opinions on abortion in any given situation, a vast majority of Jewish thinkers agree that decision-making with respect to abortion must be left in the hands of the woman involved, her husband, her physician, and her rabbi. Out of this context, in consonance with her Jewish heritage, she can make a decision as she is permitted to do by the United States Constitution. "
For a more detailed examination of In Shifra's Arms, check out my guestpost at the Jewish Women's Archive's blog Jewesses With Attitude. To take action against CPCs, check out our toolkit or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.