Sunday, July 11, 2010

What Is "Shifra's Arms"--And Why Are Jewish Abortion Activists In An Uproar?

“There are two ways to terminate a pregnancy — abortion and giving birth.”
Erica Perlman, head of Shifra's Arms

To find out what Shifra's Arms is all about, check out their website. The following is from their About page:
In Shifra's Arms is a DC metropolitan area based nonprofit organization. We exist to mobilize the American Jewish community to assist women facing unintended pregnancies. We know that many women do not feel free to choose parenting or adoption. when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and therefore feel they must abort.In one study, 64% of American women who aborted reported being pressured by others to abort and 84% reported that they did not receive adequate counseling prior to aborting (1). Additionally, research has found that college campuses in particular are very unlikely to provide support for pregnant students and this lack of support becomes a pressure to abort; about a third of abortions take place amongst college-aged women (2).

We believe that women should never feel forced to choose between having a great future and giving birth. We aim to empower women to create great futures for themselves whether they choose to become parents themselves or place their child with loving adoptive parents. We seek to listen and to serve with love and compassion and without judgment.

If you are facing an unintended pregnancy, we can confidentially help you learn about your choices and the support that is available before you decide. We can connect you with valuable and practical resources that will assist you in becoming a first time parent or expanding your existing family, or choosing and entrusting another caring and loving family to adopt your child. We will help advocate for you if you are currently in school and need support to finish your pregnancy and stay in school. In the end, we respect that its your choice that determine your future and no one can or should make that choice for you.
Read the whole thing.

There are a number of groups that do what Shifra's Arms does--the only thing that makes this group different is that it focuses on the Jewish community.

And apparently, that is enough.
Enough for it to become the target of some very sharp attacks from Jewish abortion activists.

In Jews Go Nuts over a Counseling Group for Pregnant Jewish Teens — Really, Jennifer Rubin writes
Well, to those who shudder at the notion that abortion may have adverse psychological consequences or that an abortion is not any bigger deal than have your nails done, Shifra’s Arms is an anathema.

In a piece by the Jewish Weekly, critics pounced. Alyssa Zucker, professor of psychology and women’s studies at George Washington University, asserted “while these organizations say they are about choice, they are really not. Their goal is to convince women not to have abortions.” Nancy Ratzan, the president of the National Council of Jewish Women, declared that Shifra’s Arms’s website “looks like it fits the model that targets young women in a deceptive way. … [We are] greatly concerned about pregnancy crisis centers and their focus to limit women’s choice and undermine the rights of women.”
In the context of the past, when abortions were illegal, dangerous and difficult calling abortion 'a right' had a point, but in the context of today when abortions are a well-known option, referring to abortion as a right in the context of the equally appropriate choice of adoption has a chilling effect.

But then again, that is the point. According to that piece in the Jewish Weekly:
It's not uncommon for medical professionals and abortion rights activists to accuse crisis pregnancy centers of misleading women on the risks of abortion.

In Montgomery County, one center is suing the county over a new law requiring CPCs to post clearly that they do "not have a licensed medical professional on staff" and do not provide abortions or provide referrals to abortion clinics.
When it comes to abortion, we have an agenda battling against an opposing one of adoption--and not about giving equal voice to 2 different choices.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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