In Judaism, life is sacred. Banning potentially lifesaving medical procedures and interfering with a doctor’s decision-making runs contrary to the Jewish commandment to protect life.
WRJ is a leading advocate for reproductive rights and health and continues to oppose state and federal restrictions that limit access to birth control and safe abortion services.
WRJ brings Jewish communities together to pursue reproductive health and rights as a collective voice. Thank you to our donors who make this work possible.
WRJ’s work - and that of our Districts and local affiliates - recognize that reproductive rights mean more than abortion. Therefore, we are active in many aspects of reproductive rights, including menstrual equality and period projects.
WRJ Repro Rights Resources
The 2022 WRJ Reproductive Health & Rights Resource Guide is intended to help Reform synagogue sisterhoods, congregations, and individuals mobilize and advocate for reproductive health and rights in their communities. The suggested list of actions will help kickstart your communities’ advocacy around reproductive issues.
Abortion Access Blog Posts
On December 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, potentially the most consequential abortion rights case in generations. This case directly challenges the right to abortion affirmed by Roe v. Wade—that everyone has autonomy over their bodies and has the right to decide whether they want to continue a pregnancy—and the fundamental right to live with autonomy, dignity, and equality.
In 2016, WRJ focused on reproductive rights, gun violence, pay equity, health care, and immigration as issues that were and remain key to making educated choices in how to vote. Today, however, we see the ability to vote itself threatened. Just this year, 19 states enacted 33 laws making it harder for their citizens to vote. In the absence of federal voting right legislation, it is becoming apparent that it is at the local level, especially in this current local election cycle and in the 2022 mid-terms, where the future of our democracy will be played out.
For nearly half a century, Roe has afforded countless Americans moral agency and bodily autonomy. Today, the future of reproductive rights is under threat, a result of hundreds of federal and state restrictions and court decisions that have chipped away at Roe. In January 2019, as a response to the continual erosion of abortion access, pro-choice legislators in Massachusetts introduced an “Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access” - the ROE Act.
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning a half-century of judicial precedent established by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Rabbi Marla Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism; Yolanda Savage-Narva, Assistant Vice President of Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion of the Union for Reform Judaism; and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and Women of Reform Judaism.
"As Reform Jews, we will not stand idly by as our rights are taken away. We stand firm in our commitment to the fight for a just and compassionate world, where everyone is free to make decisions about their future no matter who they are or where they live."
For over 85 years, WRJ has been a leading advocate for reproductive rights and women's health. We join the Reform Movement in speaking out for the rights of those who are pregnant to exercise moral authority over their own bodies.
Watch the Path Forward On Abortion Webinar
In the first week of May, a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked, indicating the U.S. Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that affirmed the right to an abortion for the last 50 years. While this decision is not final and abortion is still legal, we must proactively explore ways that we can continue the fight to protect and advance abortion rights and access. This recording of the webinar, “The Path Forward on Abortion,” hosted by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Women of Reform Judaism, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, discussed potential decisions, what to expect when the final decision is determined, and ways that we can respond, from direct support to individuals seeking an abortion to local, state, and federal advocacy.
Freedom to Vote and Reproductive Rights
A webinar on reproductive rights and voting rights featuring Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Desiree Luckey, Nse Ufot, and Fredi Bleeker Franks.
Related Issues from Our Partners at the Religious Action Center
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 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.
Access to affordable family planning services is a critical component of our reproductive health and rights advocacy, as access to these services equips individuals with the necessary tools to shape their lives and futures. Family planning can reduce maternal mortality by preventing unwanted pregnancies, protect the health of children by allowing sufficient time between pregnancies, and help stabilize population growth.