Reproductive Health and Rights

The Reform Movement's positions on reproductive rights are grounded in the core belief that each person should have agency and autonomy over their own bodies.

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The Reform Movement's positions on reproductive rights are grounded in the core belief that each person should have agency and autonomy over their own bodies. Our advocacy around abortion access is inspired by the Jewish value of kavod ha’briyot, respect for individual dignity. This same sanctity underscores the vital need for medically accurate sexuality education, affordable family planning services, and high-quality maternal and women’s health care.

We strive to work in partnership with both secular and faith-based organizations and build relationships across lines of faith, race, and other differences to create a world in which every person is able to shape their reproductive lives with dignity.

The RAC is partnering with Women of Reform Judaism on the WRJ-RAC Reproductive Health & Rights Campaign to provide an organizing structure for congregations, women's groups, and other Reform Jewish communities to take collective action for reproductive health and rights on a local, state, provincial, and federal level.

For immediate actions to take to preserve and advance access to abortion, check out our Resource Guide.

Why Should Jews Care?

Life is sacred in Judaism. Banning potentially life-saving medical procedures and interfering with a patient’s decision-making and moral agency runs contrary to the Jewish commandment to protect life. This belief, combined with biblical and rabbinic emphasis on human dignity, has led the Reform Movement to view the life of the pregnant individual as paramount, placing a stronger emphasis on protecting existing life than on potential life (Exodus 21:22-23).

Furthermore, the rabbis tell us that a physician’s job is to heal, and if they withhold medical care, it is as if they have shed blood. “The Torah has granted the physician permission to heal, and it is a religious duty which comes under the rule of saving an endangered life. If he withholds treatment, he is regarded as one who sheds blood” (Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 336:1). Regressive state laws that prevent physicians and other providers from providing health care is in direct opposition to this sacred duty.

Take Action

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Contact your Governor and State Legislators to Demand They Protect and Expand Abortion Rights

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, leaving abortion rights to the states. Your state legislatures have the power to protect abortion access through legislation, ballot initiatives, and more.

Urge your Governor and State legislators to protect and expand abortion rights.

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Protestors holding pro choice signs outside the Supreme Court

Protect Access to Abortion

The Women’s Health Protection Act would create a federal safeguard against countless state regulations, bans, and restrictions that prevent people from accessing the abortion care they need. 

Urge your members of Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA).

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Sign reading KEEP ABORTION LEGAL

Repeal the Hyde Amendment

​​​​​​The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal health insurance from covering abortion with very narrow exceptions. This disproportionately impacts low-income individuals and limits their access to abortion services.

Urge Congress to support the EACH Act, which would restore moral agency to all pregnant individuals, regardless of income.

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Tell Congress to Permanently End the Global Gag Rule

The global gag rule, also called the Mexico City Policy, prevented foreign NGOs that receive U.S. global health assistance from using their own, non-U.S. funds to discuss abortion with their patients, perform legal abortions, or advocate for abortion legalization. 

Urge your members of Congress to support the Global HER Act.

Related Issues

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Abortion Access

Although 7 in 10 Americans support the right to legal abortion, access is restricted by geography, waiting periods, biased counseling, parental consent laws for minors, insurance coverage restrictions, and targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws.

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Family Planning & Contraceptives

Access to affordable family planning services is a critical component of our reproductive health and rights advocacy. Access to these services equip individuals with the tools to shape their lives and futures.

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Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Sex education is intrinsically linked to reproductive rights. Without it, individuals cannot make informed decisions about their bodies or futures. Sex education provides students with the information to avoid unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other health issues.

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woman holding sign in front of supreme court about legal abortion

Reproductive Justice

The legal right to abortion and contraceptive care does not mean much if these rights are inaccessible. The Reproductive Justice Movement is a framework coined by 12 visionary Black women in 1994 that centers the concerns of marginalized communities in conversations relating to reproduction, sexuality, and families.

What's New

The Accidental (Repro) Advocate

August 5, 2022
Looking back at the first couple of weeks after the decision came down in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization, I think I processed our new reality by keeping busy. My focus was on providing education, action, and advocacy materials and support for WRJ and my synagogue community. From advocacy guides to webinars to a local "Postcarding and Planning" evening with friends, I kept the full pain of the decision at arm's length. But then I heard about the college students who successfully advocated for a Plan B vending machine installed at Boston University, and the idea is going viral. And then I thought about my children, and everything hit home.

The Facts About Abortion

June 24, 2022
FACT: Life begins at birth. FACT: Until birth, the fetus is part of the mother. FACT: The life and well-being of the mother will always take precedence over the fetus until the point at which the fetus's head fully emerges from the womb, and it becomes a living baby. These are the facts as I believe them to be, based on my faith, tradition, and understanding of Jewish law. While I understand that some people may hold different religious views, they are not binding on me. Until now.

Related Press Releases

Reform Jewish Women’s Group Applauds Executive Actions on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 28, 2021 Reform Jewish Women’s Group Applauds Executive Actions on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights In response to the Biden administration’s executive order to rescind the “Mexico City Policy” restricting U.S. funding for international family planning services, disavowal of the anti-abortion “Geneva Consensus Declaration, and review of the harmful domestic

Women of Reform Judaism Applauds Historic Supreme Court Decision to Protect Women's Rights

[New York, NY, June 27, 2016] …“Providing a woman with dignity begins with protecting her right to make her own medical and family planning decisions.” - Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director, Women of Reform Judaism In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, issued the following

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Reform Judaism's Resolutions on Reproductive Rights

Learn more about the position of the Reform Movement on these key issues, and read the formal resolutions by URJ and CCAR.

View URJ Resolutions View Other Reform Judaism Resolutions

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Engage Your Congregation

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Printable Resources

Utilize the WRJ-RAC Reproductive Health & Rights Printable Resource to find a list of Jewish texts and suggestions on programs to kickstart your advocacy efforts.

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Every Voice, Every Vote

The Reform Jewish Movement’s 2022 Every Voice, Every Vote Campaign is a nonpartisan effort, grounded in our Jewish values and commitment to racial justice, to strengthen our democracy by encouraging and protecting voter participation.

Contact our Staff

For more information on this issue, contact Lillie Heyman.