A number of Jewish groups criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a ban on late-term abortion. The decision’s “disregard for the rights of the so-called ‘fraction’ of women who, for a range of reasons, including the preservation of their own lives, need specific reproductive health services is heartless and insensitive,” the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center said hours after Wednesday’s ruling. The majority ruling by Justice Anthony Kennedy said those opposing the 2003 law “have not demonstrated that the act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases.” Other procedures are available to women whose lives are threatened by their pregnancy, Kennedy wrote. Hadassah, in a statement, said the court “inappropriately inserted itself into the personal lives of American women.” The National Council of Jewish Women said the decision underscored how critical it was to consider Supreme Court choices, as two Bush appointees to the court, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, tipped the balance after the court rejected a similar ban in 2000. “Who serves on the court has a direct bearing on our ability to exercise our constitutional rights, including reproductive freedom,” NCJW said. Agudath Israel of America, a fervently Orthodox group, praised the decision. “At a time when social and cultural trends tend to undervalue human life, laws that prohibit the killing of partially delivered fetuses serve as a vital reminder of the enormity of the moral issues surrounding the taking of human life,” it said. The minority decision in the 5-4 ruling, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is Jewish, said the ruling “chips away” at women’s rights. The ruling “recalls ancient notions about women’s place in society and under the Constitution ideas that have long since been discredited,” she wrote.
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