Reform Jewish Women's Group Decries Domestic Gag Rule and Closure of Planned Parenthood Clinics

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is deeply concerned by news of the closing of the Planned Parenthood clinics in Glendale and Western Hills, Ohio.

These closures are the direct results of the current U.S. administration’s enactment of the domestic gag rule, which prevents health care professionals from providing abortion information to their patients if they receive Title X funds, even if those funds are not used for abortion services.

Planned Parenthood relied on funding from Title X to operate its clinics. Title X is the nation’s only program dedicated to helping people receive affordable birth control and reproductive health care. The enforcement of the domestic gag rule has forced Planned Parenthood to remove itself from the government-sponsored program rather than deny their patients information about the full range of health services available.

WRJ respects individuals’ moral agency to make reproductive health decisions without government interference. Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism stated: “We believe that access to the full range of reproductive health services must be protected for all individuals in our communities, regardless of their socioeconomic status, the state they live in, their religion, or their health care plan. Therefore, we oppose efforts to restrict access to abortion and other health services through Title X funding restrictions and we will advocate for policies that restore health and dignity to patients as moral agents of their own medical and health care needs.”

Planned Parenthood had served approximately 40% of patients who receive care through Title X, affecting more than 1.5 million individuals. Although Title X is designed to help low-income and other underserved communities, many more patients are affected by these closings.

Emily McOsker, 30, used the services of the Western Hills clinic when she was between jobs and did not have access to healthcare services through insurance. “Planned Parenthood had been there for me for almost every part of my life,” McOsker said. “This is a direct attack by removing the necessary healthcare and access that women need.”

“We cannot sit and be passive on this any longer,” McOsker said. “This has been an ongoing fight since my mom was a young woman and we are still fighting for this basic right.”

WRJ has long-standing policy on reproductive rights and recently launched a Reproductive Justice Campaign to oppose efforts to diminish access to abortion and other reproductive health services.

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), founded in 1913, is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. WRJ represents tens of thousands of women in hundreds of women’s groups, strengthening the voice of women worldwide and empowering them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values.

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Published: 09/09/2019