Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent comments blaming "fundamentalist Christians" for the "theocratic" push against abortion and suggesting that Judaism is OK with abortion have drawn the ire of some non-Christians.
In a lengthy Instagram post last Thursday, the progressive lawmaker from New York City criticized the argument of abortion opponents who believe that abortion is "harming a life."
"Well, some religions don't [believe that]," she responded. "Our Jewish brothers and sisters, they are able to have an abortion according to their faith."
"[T]here are so many faiths that do not have the same definition of life as fundamentalist Christians," she said, expressing concern about the ability of non-Christians to "exercise their faith."
"It's ridiculous and it is theocratic, it's authoritarian, it is wrong," she declared.
Terrisa Bukovinac, a pro-life atheist and the founder of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, described Ocasio-Cortez's "claim that you have to be religious to oppose killing children in their earliest stages of life" as a "lie" being "perpetuated by the Abortion Industrial Complex since before Roe v. Wade."
"You don't have to be religious to recognize that abortion is murder," Bukovinac said in a statement to The Christian Post.
"Pro-life people are the ones working towards a separation of church and state," Bukovinac asserted. "We want the law to reflect the scientific reality that life begins at conception, not just whenever we believe life begins. The concept of a human non-person has been used exclusively to discriminate against whole groups of human beings and in the case of the unborn, that discrimination is lethal almost 100% of the time."
The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew and conservative political commentator, pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez's assertion that Judaism permits abortion.
"Explain to me where in Jewish law abortion is widely permissible," he said on Monday's episode of "The Ben Shapiro Show." "I'm waiting to hear, rabbi."
An amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court last year by the Jewish Pro-Life Foundation, the Coalition for Jewish Values and other Jewish organizations and rabbis contends that "Jewish law prohibits abortion and Judaism obligates us to protect innocent life in the womb."
Ryan Jones, an editor for Israel Today who is Christian, wrote in an op-ed that Ocasio-Cortez's assertion about Judaism might seem "well-founded in light of how easily Israel approves the procedure."
"But in reality it betrays an ignorance of Judaism's position on the subject," Jones wrote. "In broad strokes, Judaism views a fetus as living creature, but refrains from granting it the status of personhood. However, Judaism is largely noncommittal about the entire affair. And it certainly shouldn't be portrayed as pro-abortion or pro-choice."
Protests have occurred nationwide in recent weeks following the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that indicates that the nation's high court could overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Defending Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, the law at the center of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Supreme Courtcase, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch argued in a brief that a human heart begins beating at five to six weeks gestation and that the baby begins to "move about" in the womb around eight weeks.
"At 9 weeks, 'all basic physiological functions are present' as are teeth, eyes, and external genitalia," she wrote.
Citing additional findings from the state legislature, Fitch said that "at 10 weeks, 'vital organs begin to function' and '[h]air, fingernails, and toenails begin to form,'" "at 11 weeks, an unborn human being's diaphragm is developing and 'he or she may even hiccup'" and that "at 12 weeks' gestation, he or she can 'open and close … fingers,' 'starts to make sucking motions,' and 'senses stimulation from the world outside the womb."
She also stated that 15 weeks into a pregnancy, an unborn baby "has taken on the human form in all relevant respects."
Ocasio-Cortez used her Instagram video to announce her intention to spearhead a fundraiser for National Abortion Funds. She characterized the group as "a national network of several different individual abortion funds that help facilitate people being able to access ... their right to healthcare."
She told pregnant women in states that have enacted abortion restrictions like Texas or Oklahoma that they are "welcome in New York."
"We will do what we can to welcome you," she said.
"We have taken actions on a state level, including opening up abortion funds to help people get the transportation needed to get here and I also know that there's just an enormous amount of organizing efforts that are launching … for people to open up their homes to people who are seeking an abortion or needing that care."
After detailing her experience with sexual assault, the member of Congress accused Republicans of "taking women's bodies" and "forcing their opinions, forcing their perspective on women's bodies without their consent." She believes Republicans are "violating not just women but trans people and non-binary people in this country."
As she spoke, Ocasio-Cortez wore a shirt advocating for the abolition of the government agency tasked with removing undocumented immigrants from the U.S., reflecting the "Abolish ICE" movement embraced by the most progressive faction of the Democratic Party.
The leaked initial draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in the Dobbs case, which is not final, proclaims that Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start" and "must be overruled."
A final decision in the Dobbs case is expected by the end of June. Should the Supreme Court overturn Roe, the legality of abortion would be up to each state. While 21 states would either ban or severely restrict abortion in the absence of Roe, 16 states would continue to allow abortion throughout most or all of pregnancy.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: email@example.com