Life is sacred in Judaism. Banning potentially life-saving medical procedures and interfering with a doctor’s decision-making runs contrary to the Jewish commandment to protect life. This cohort brings together Jewish communities to pursue reproductive health and rights together.
For nearly 85 years, WRJ has been a leading advocate for reproductive rights and health, adopting more than a dozen resolutions affirming a strong and vocal stance and mobilizing its members to speak out for the rights of those who are pregnant to exercise moral authority over their own bodies. WRJ was among the first in our Movement to call for access to information about contraception in 1935 and for abortion reform in 1965. On the matter of abortion, WRJ stated: “We believe that the right to choose on the matter of abortions is a personal decision based on religious, moral or cultural values and beliefs; it should not be determined for others by special interest groups whether religious or otherwise, nor should government be the enforcing agency for their points of view” (Women’s Rights, 1977).
This resource guide is intended to help Reform sisterhoods, congregations, and individuals mobilize and advocate for reproductive health and rights in their own communities. The suggested list of actions below was written to help kickstart your communities’ advocacy around reproductive issues.
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- Reproductive Health and Rights as a Reform Jewish Issue - The Reform Movement, led by Women of Reform Judaism, has long supported the right to make decisions about one's own reproductive health according to one's own beliefs. Learn more about why this is a Reform Jewish issue and what the movement has done to pursue reproductive justice since 1935.
- Reproductive Health and Rights through Jewish Text - Jewish text and tradition have much to offer the reproductive justice conversation. Download and discuss this document with your Reform Jewish congregation or community.
The actions below are not intended to be an exhaustive list of ways to make change, rather serve as a guide or starting point. After determining with your community where your priorities lie, feel free to think creatively about the types of actions you would like to take.
- Abortion Access - Recently, we have witnessed unprecedented efforts by states throughout the U.S. to severely restrict or ban abortion. While the overall number of anti-abortion bills introduced in U.S. states thus far in 2019 is essentially the same as in 2018, the nature of the recent bills is more harmful and restrictive than anything introduced previously.
- Comprehensive Sex Education - Comprehensive sex education includes information about sex, sexuality, relationships, contraception and condoms. Sex education is directly linked to reproductive justice. Without it, individuals cannot make informed decisions about their bodies, sexual activity, or futures.
- Federal Legislation - Learn more about how the Women’s Health Protection Act and EACH Woman Act work in tandem to promote abortion access and affordability.
- Community Action - Work together as a community to support reproductive justice.
- Glossary of Terms - We've compiled simple explanations for many of the terms we often hear when discussing reproductive justice, including "crisis pregnancy center," "Hyde Amendment" and "TRAP law."
- Educational Programming - Get your community involved using these ideas for educational programming.
Federal, State, and Local Partners
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): The ACLU is a leading civil liberties organization and works actively on reproductive rights. The ACLU’s website contains updates on some of the major reproductive rights cases and pieces of legislation around the country. ACLU also has state-wide chapters
- Center for Reproductive Rights: The Center for Reproductive Rights is the only global legal advocacy organization dedicated to reproductive rights, with expertise in both U.S. constitutional and international human rights law.
- Guttmacher Institute: Guttmacher is a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally. Their website is an excellent resource for graphics, maps, and other visual devices to track reproductive rights across the globe.
- NARAL Pro-Choice America: NARAL is one of the leading organizations fighting for reproductive rights. Both NARAL’s national office and its 22 state affiliates actively monitor state legislation and are great resources for education and advocacy.
- National Women’s Law Center: NWLC is a leader in advancing gender equity through litigation and policy initiatives. In addition to providing helpful resources on reproductive rights, NWLC is a helpful tool in learning more about pay equity, gender-based violence, and other women’s rights issues.
- Planned Parenthood Action Fund: PPFA has great educational information as well as resources for action on a federal and state-wide level. The “State News” section of their website provides useful information to track legislation in your state, as well as how to become connected with local Planned Parenthood chapters.