Opinion: Can Roe and Wade now be neighbors coming together?

Can this be the moment to truly live the commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18)?

It’s done. The 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision protecting a woman’s right to privacy in her reproductive choices was overturned. While some are mourning and some are rejoicing, we all today live a new world with a new reality; Roe v. Wade is no longer.

While many legal consequences now follow, I wonder, what do we do with each other?

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Brunswick, Ga., Rabbi Rachael M. Bregman/Photo by Bobby Haven.

Brunswick, Ga., Rabbi Rachael M. Bregman/Photo by Bobby Haven.

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Brunswick, Ga., Rabbi Rachael M. Bregman/Photo by Bobby Haven.

One day, before COVID, my neighbor, a then middle-schooler, knocked on my door, a pen, clipboard and registration form in her hand. I told her, whatever you are fundraising for, sign me up! I adore my neighbors. Our families have had a great relationship all the years we have lived across from each other.

And then she told me. She was collecting money for an organization which held opposite beliefs to my own regarding abortion/choice. My face fell. I’m sorry, I told her. I just can not support this. And I closed the door.

I regret the choice I made that day. While I remained true to my beliefs, I simultaneously betrayed my values.

Maybe I could have made a small donation. Maybe I could have invited a conversation about what she valued in this organization.

And I did neither.

What are we doing as a society, as people when we abdicated one set of values for another? Instead of Roe verses Wade, could it be Roe and Wade?

On the face of it, this is the latest in the pro-choice/anti-abortion standoff. And we do not live in a world where events exist in isolation.

If only this decision were a debate about when life begins. If only this were about religious freedom. If only this were about gender equity. If only it were about political maneuvering to mobilize voters. If only.

This moment is about all of it. And more. This is about how we treat one another.

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Pro-life protestors gather to celebrate Roe v. Wade being struck down by the Supreme Court outside of the Georgia State Capitol on Saturday, June 25, 2022 in Atlanta. (Chris Day/Christopher.Day@ajc.com)

Credit: Chris Day

Pro-life protestors gather to celebrate Roe v. Wade being struck down by the Supreme Court outside of the Georgia State Capitol on Saturday, June 25, 2022 in Atlanta. (Chris Day/Christopher.Day@ajc.com)

Credit: Chris Day

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Pro-life protestors gather to celebrate Roe v. Wade being struck down by the Supreme Court outside of the Georgia State Capitol on Saturday, June 25, 2022 in Atlanta. (Chris Day/Christopher.Day@ajc.com)

Credit: Chris Day

Credit: Chris Day

Now that Roe is overturned, it could be easy to close ranks with those with whom we share similar opinions and sides.

What if this time we don’t?

Can we ask new questions like, what is this moment like for those on the other side of this than me?

Can we ask each other, tell me your story of how you came to care so deeply about this issue?

The threat is gone. Right now, the fight is laid to rest. While it surely will resume again, can we find a moment of peace and step closer together instead of even further apart?

Rachael M. Bregman is the Berman Family Rabbinate Rabbi of Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick.