WRJ takes pride in its history of advocacy for women’s equality in the rabbinate, in the workplace, and in our society, raising voices for women’s suffrage and reproductive rights and taken a stand to end violence against women.
Washington, D.C., January 22, 2015 – Today, we commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established the constitutionally protected right of a woman to decide whether or not to have an abortion. In an affront to the legacy of Roe v. Wade, the House of Representatives voted this afternoon to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015, a dangerous bill to restrict abortion access. On the occasion of the Roe anniversary and of the House vote, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today, as we mark the 42nd anniversary of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, we take heart that for more than four decades, women have had the right to make their own reproductive health decisions, ensuring control over their bodies and lives. At the same time, we recognize that our work is far from done. Despite Roe, safe, legal and affordable reproductive health care is still not a reality for too many women in the United States. In nearly 90 percent of counties across the United States, there are no abortion providers available. Mandatory waiting periods and other onerous restrictions are the norm in states nationwide.
Today, we are reminded once again of the constant stream of attacks on women’s access to abortion, which particularly harm women struggling to make ends meet. While the House of Representatives wisely reversed its plan to vote on a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, the House instead passed a similarly dangerous bill, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 7). This bill, if it becomes law, would reinforce the harrowing reality that a woman’s ability to access reproductive health care – and thus to make private medical decisions based on her faith and her needs – is limited by her economic status.
Judaism teaches that the life and well-being of the woman is of higher value than the potential life of the developing fetus. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to ensuring that all women, regardless of their income level, have access to the health care services they need.