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

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 gag rule for the Title X program,” Rabbi Marla Feldman, executive director of Women of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:

“We applaud the Biden administration’s prioritization of reproductive rights by rescinding the Mexico City Policy, disavowing the Geneva Consensus Declaration, and beginning the important process of reviewing the harmful domestic gag rule for the Title X program. Inspired by the Jewish value of kavod ha’briyot, or respect for individual dignity, the Reform Jewish Movement has long supported access to the full range of reproductive health care options, including access to abortion services.

For far too long, the Mexico City Policy has stifled access to health care, created fear and confusion, and undermined the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. This “gag rule” that prevents medical professionals that receive funding from the U.S. from performing or even referring patients elsewhere for abortion services has reduced the effectiveness of U.S. global health assistance and has placed the lives of countless women, girls, LGBTQI+ people, and other individuals who face systemic barriers to accessing health care at risk.

The Geneva Consensus Declaration was similarly harmful. Despite claims of promoting women’s health and asserting a commitment to gender equality, the declaration sought to join the U.S. to a global coalition against reproductive freedom and self-determination. We support the administration’s disavowal of this anti-abortion declaration.

Today’s executive orders, during the administration’s first ten days in office, are positive steps towards ensuring gender equality worldwide. We implore the administration to continue to prioritize equitable reproductive health care access by fully rescinding the Title X “Domestic Gag Rule,” repealing the Helms and Hyde Amendments, issuing guidance to lift the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone, and rescinding the previous administration’s expansion of religious and moral exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Together, these actions will make clear that science and respect for patients’ moral agency will lead policy. Congress must also pass the Global HER Act to permanently repeal the global gag rule and ensure that the U.S. can build sustainable partnerships and make long term progress on a range of critical health issues.

# # #