First conference hears of link between abortion and Holocaust

The Institute for Religious Values is an interfaith Virginia think-tank that has recently begun a project to increase pro-life activity among Jewish people.

Chris Gersten, president of both the Institute and the Jewish Coalition Against Abortion (JCAA), told The Interim that the JCAA will present a religious perspective on life issues, and will help create and support local Jewish pro-life groups. To gain influence in elections, the JCAA is also helping found a political action committee, Christians and Jews for Life.

“The Jewish community is traditionally radically pro-choice so it would be nice to get even a beach-head,” Gersten said.

In November, the coalition held a conference, well-received in the press, at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Gersten said the conference raised the profile of the group and that they hope to hold several smaller conferences when they raise enough money.

Luncheon speaker Ben Stein, an actor, lawyer, teacher, and writer, (well-known for his roles in the movie Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and the television program, The Wonder Years), summarized the challenge succinctly: “Why is it that a woman’s right to choose – as it’s horrifically mislabelled – why is a woman’s right to kill so incredibly popular?” He noted that there is widespread support for abortion on the political left, right, and centre.

Jewish people, Stein reminded the audience, should be aware that the pro-abortion ideology is “very similar to Marxism and Nazism,” because it denies the humanity of its victims. Society denies the child’s humanity, he argued, “in order to legitimize killing it.” Especially because of the parallels to Hitler’s Germany, Stein is surprised that Jewish people are not notably pro-life.

Prayer is central to saving the unborn, Stein told the conference. “I think we all pray to God to get these things done, but here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”

He challenged Jewish people to “erase this crazy line that divides a baby that is born … from the baby a few weeks or days or months before, which is essentially the same human being but invisible inside the womb.”

The featured speaker at the conference was Rabbi David Novak. Rabbi Novak is the director of the Joint Centre for Bioethics and holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. He outlined a Jewish approach to ending abortion.

Rabbi Novak told The Interim that there is a misperception that the Jewish tradition is pro-abortion. That idea, he says, “is put forth primarily by Jews with little or no commitment to Jewish tradition.”

He explained that Jewish tradition clearly does not support a “right” to abortion.