Religious leaders react to Roe v. Wade reversal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade and ending the constitutional right to abortion, religious leaders in Harrisburg are responding, but not everyone feels the same way.

One leader said the court’s ruling violates religious freedom, while another says it is a step in protecting the most vulnerable members of the community.

Rabbi Ariana Capptauber said for her, abortion isn’t political.

“This is an issue of values, an issue of basic freedom,” she said.

Capptabuer is the rabbi at Harrisburg’s Beth El Temple. She said several Jewish texts prioritize the life of the mother and allow for abortion.

“We’re unequivocal about the right of a mother to have an abortion,” she said.

Capptauber explained while Judaism encourages having children, one commandment actually requires abortion if the mother’s life is in danger, up to the moment the child is born.

However, Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg praised the Supreme Court’s decision. In a statement Friday, the bishop said, “The Catholic Church has long taught that all life is a precious gift from God. This life is to be protected and respected from the moment of conception to that of natural death.”

The bishop also said the church must support parents facing an unplanned pregnancy.

Capptauber said some of the texts rabbis interpret to allow abortion are the same texts some Christians interpret as banning it.

“It has been such a cause taken up by the religious right,” she said.

Not all Catholics and Christians share this view. According to a Pew Research Center study, Catholics are split on the issue of abortion, and many Orthodox Christians believe it should be legal in most cases.

For Capptauber, this is about religious freedom.

“There’s a feeling that these policies which don’t allow abortion are impinging on Jewish religious freedom because they are so connected to Christian interpretation of religious texts,” she said.

Right now, abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania. Capptauber said she thinks it is her responsibility to make sure her congregation can access those services if necessary.