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Letter: I am concerned by Kavanaugh's views on the separation of church and state

As a leader within the Jewish community in North Dakota, I feel compelled to add my voice to the discussion surrounding the possible appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As a Rabbi, and as a wife, I am particularly concerned by Kavanaugh's stance related to a woman's right to choose, where his role as a public servant is clearly overridden by his own religious beliefs.

In our faith tradition, we believe that a baby becomes a full-fledged human the moment of their birth. While we view the fetus as precious, the life and well-being of the mother is paramount because we place a higher value on existing life than on potential life.

If a mother's life is threatened, for example, our sacred text (Mishnah Ohaloth 7:6) forbids a woman from sacrificing her own life for that of a fetus, permitting her no other option but abortion. In the case of rape or incest, when a woman's mental health, sanity, or self-esteem is at risk, the Mishnah permits a woman to terminate the pregnancy.

I am dismayed by Kavanaugh's staunch rejection of the separation of church and state that is apparent throughout his career, and I call on him to acknowledge the diversity of faiths in America and allow us the freedom to make the right decisions for our bodies, guided by our faith.

I believe Kavanaugh's potential appointment places at risk the rights of Jewish citizens of North Dakota to draw upon their own faith and religious teachings to make difficult health decisions — decisions that should be left to the woman herself, her family and her God.

Serber lives in Fargo.

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