FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team
Jewish clergy from across the Jewish denominational spectrum are invited to join new Rabbis for Repro campaign
WASHINGTON – With access to reproductive health care being threatened at every level of government, the National Council of Jewish Women, an organization at the frontlines of the fight for reproductive health, rights, and justice for over 125 years, today launched Rabbis for Repro. The new campaign encourages Jewish clergy to pledge that they will teach about the issue and create an open system of support for reproductive health care access in their communities.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo may have been a victory against TRAP laws (targeted restriction on abortion providers), but the fight to ensure abortion access is far from over. It is more important than ever to reaffirm the Jewish community’s commitment to ensuring all who need it have access to information and reproductive health care.
“One in four people who can become pregnant will have an abortion by age 45, and that includes people in the Jewish community. Our tradition views abortion as essential healthcare, not only permitted but in some cases commanded when a life is at risk,” said NCJW CEO Sheila Katz. “Now, we’re asking Rabbis, Cantors, and Jewish educators to commit to teaching their communities about the Jewish perspective on this critical issue, making it clear that they will welcome and support those who have or may in the future choose to terminate a pregnancy.”
“Lack of abortion access disproportionately affects people living in poverty, the LBGTQ community, people of color, and young people. It is more important than ever that our Jewish leaders step up and support our communities by living out our values,” said Katz.
Rabbis and cantors are on the frontlines, serving members of their communities who are contemplating abortion, have had an abortion, are coping with trauma, or even those who are simply interested in learning more about what Judaism has to say about abortion. Clergy have a platform to educate others and Rabbis for Repro will provide necessary and informative resources.
“In Judaism, we believe people should have full control of their own bodies, and that doesn’t change with reproductive health,” said Rabbi Lori Koffman, NCJW Board Vice President. “Reproductive health care, including abortion, is health care.”
Clergy who sign the pledge will be invited to participate in training online and will receive tools and resources to become public allies for reproductive freedom.
“Reproductive freedom is a Jewish issue,” said Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, who worked with NCJW to create the Rabbis for Repro campaign. “Our religion commands us to not stand idly by while barriers to healthcare place any individual’s health, well-being, autonomy, or economic security at risk.”
So far religious leaders across every stream of Judaism (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Renewal) have signed onto the pledge including the heads of the Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative movements – Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, and Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal – as well as other prominent rabbis, such as Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum, Rabbi Asher Lopatin, and Rabbi Rachel Timoner.
To learn more about Rabbis for Repro visit https://www.rabbisforrepro.com.