This title is, admittedly, at least partially tongue in cheek. It refers to an old Jewish joke from my childhood, where any topic, no matter how seemingly unrelated, always came back to this question. But on a more serious note, the centrality of the abortion issue in this presidential election season has led me to conclude that the policies promoted recently by anti-abortion forces in Congress are not good for any woman, whether Jewish or not. Moreover, the unprecedented harshness of some current abortion proposals, which reflect a jaw-dropping misogyny, has spurred me, a long time observer of the abortion conflict, to reflect on various Jewish connections to this contentious issue.
In particular, a bill passed in Congress, the Orwellian named “Protect Life” Act, H.R. 358, which permits hospitals to deny women abortions in life threatening situations, and even to refuse these women referrals to other facilities, violates my most basic understanding of Jewish ethics. Although I have studied the abortion conflict since the 1970s and thought I was beyond shock, the “Protect Life Act”—which passed with 251 House members voting in favor— stunned me.
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