Women of Reform Judaism Responds to Supreme Court Ruling in Contraception Access Case

WOMEN OF REFORM JUDAISM RESPONDS TO SUPREME COURT RULING IN CONTRACEPTION ACCESS CASE

 

[New York, NY, May 16, 2016] … “We believe that a woman should have autonomy over her own health care decisions, including the ability to access contraception in line with her own faith tradition, rather than being limited by the religious beliefs of her employer.”

- Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director, Women of Reform Judaism

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today in Zubik v. Burwell, Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), since its inception, has been an advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights, including access to the full range of contraception options that women need. We were therefore disappointed in today’s Supreme Court ruling in Zubik v. Burwell, which remands cases combined under Zubik back to the federal appellate courts to address the question of women’s access to contraception health services under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This means that women in some states will continue to enjoy fewer rights than women in other states – a situation that is both unnecessary and untenable.

Under the ACA, not only are houses of worship provided an exemption to the required contraception coverage, but even religious non-profits, such as religiously affiliated hospitals, universities, and charities, as well as certain closely held corporations, are provided an accommodation allowing their workers to access contraception coverage through the government, rather than through the employer. 

We value the guarantee of religious freedom for the employers in these cases, and we believe that the ACA accommodation properly balances the religious liberty of employers with a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions. Thus, we believe that the ACA provision satisfies the Constitutional standard of being the ‘least restrictive means’ necessary to fulfill a ‘compelling government interest’.

At stake in these cases is the health of thousands of women who work for religiously affiliated entities. We believe that a woman should have autonomy over her own health care decisions, including the ability to access contraception in line with her own faith tradition, rather than being limited by the religious beliefs of her employer.

All women in the United States are entitled to the same degree of health care, no matter where they live. Our fundamental rights should not depend on the state or the federal judicial district in which we live. We hope the lower courts will resolve this issue expeditiously and without further delay and ensure that all American women will have access to affordable contraception coverage.

 

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: 05/16/2016

Read WRJ Resolutions & Statements speaking out for women's reproductive rights and access to health care, historically and in the present day.