Tag Archives: Reproductive Rights
A Woman in Prison

On Purim, Exploring the Intersections of Reproductive Justice and Criminal Justice

On Purim, we celebrate a time of transition for the Jews, from “grief to joy and from mourning to a festive day—to make them days of feasting and joy, and sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor” (Megillat Esther 9). As we prepare for Purim, we look forward to a time of “feasting and merrymaking” (Megillat Esther 9:22). Indeed, Purim is a time to celebrate the fortitude and resilience of the Jewish people, focusing especially on the impressive role of women leaders that is unique in the Purim story and throughout our history. Yet, as we celebrate our triumphs over the injustices of discrimination and exclusion, we must also reflect on the injustices that persist in our world today.

A new report by the Women in Prison Project, an initiative of the Correctional Association of New York, reveals one such travesty, finding that people do not receive adequate reproductive healthcare while incarcerated. The report, titled “Reproductive Injustice: The State of Reproductive Health Care for Women in New York State Prisons,” is an in-depth study of reproductive health care in the New York state prison system. Over the course of five years, researchers interviewed 950 inmates, visited prisons across the state, conducted surveys and reviewed medical charts to reveal “a shockingly poor standard of care, the routine denial of basic reproductive health and hygiene items, and the continued egregious practice of shackling pregnant women during labor and childbirth despite a 2011 law prohibiting it.” Read more…

Sexuality Education

Teaching Teens the Tools for Safe and Healthy Relationships

Last week, I wrote about the importance of highlighting and promoting healthy relationships in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. Through Jewish Women International’s (JWI) Shamor L’Amour toolkit, we shared prayers for healthy relationships and for healing from abuse and sermon starters for clergy, which we hope you will consider not just during the Valentine’s season, but throughout the year to emphasize the importance of addressing abuse as a step toward a truly safe community. Read more…

Support abortion access

House of Representatives Passes Severe Anti-Abortion Bill to “Celebrate” Roe v. Wade Anniversary

On January 22, we commemorated the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established our constitutionally protected right to decide whether or not to have an abortion. That same day, in an affront to the legacy of Roe, the House of Representatives voted to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 7), dangerous legislation that would both codify existing bans on taxpayer funding for abortion and expand restrictions to limit abortion access for women who are privately insured. Read more…

Supporting Roe at SCOTUS

Reform Jewish Movement Marks Roe v. Wade Anniversary; Condemns Dangerous House Bill

Today, we commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established the constitutionally protected right of a woman to decide whether or not to have an abortion. In an affront to the legacy of Roe v. Wade, the House of Representatives voted this afternoon to pass the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015, a dangerous bill to restrict abortion access. On the occasion of the Roe anniversary and of the House vote, Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement: Read more…

On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Raising Our Voices for Reproductive Justice

On January 22, we commemorate the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established the constitutionally protected right of a woman to choose whether or not to have an abortion. The Court held that under the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process, the government’s interest in protecting potential life does not always outweigh a woman’s right to privacy in her health decisions. Though this constitutional protection still exists, subsequent court decisions and state and federal laws have slowly chipped away at the decision, establishing significant obstacles to abortion access and leaving our Roe rights at risk. Read more…

Reproductive rights

Steps Towards Reproductive Rights for Peace Corps Volunteers in the Spending Bill

Last week, Congress approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2015, the end of the 2015 fiscal year. The passage of this bill avoided a government shutdown by funding the federal government – except for the defense budget, which is appropriated separately – for the next nine months.

As my colleague Melanie Fineman described, a number of Members of Congress objected to the bill because it contained harmful policy riders, amendments attached to legislation in its last stages to alter the language or to attach a new idea on a bill on which a compromise has already been reached. One policy rider in the spending bill seriously weakened the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory legislation, and another will allow wealthy political contributors to give even more money to political parties. The Hyde Amendment is a classic example of a policy rider: for every budget passed by Congress, anti-choice members attach language that prohibits any taxpayer funding for abortion services. Though the Hyde Amendment has not been voted on solely by itself or only on its own merits, it has been the effective law of the land since 1976. Read more…

Reproductive rights

Election Day Yields Mixed Results for Reproductive Rights

With the Election Day results in, the door is now open for serious threats to reproductive rights and health in the Volunteer State. Voters approved Amendment One by a margin of 53-47%, erasing language in the state constitution that defines abortion as a fundamental right. The state legislature now has the authority to “enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”

Though the Amendment does not immediately change any abortion laws in Tennessee, lawmakers have already announced their intention to advance abortion restrictions when the legislative session begins in January. These could include dangerous and restrictive policies like the building regulations and physician admitting privileges in Texas (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider laws, known as TRAP laws), the mandatory 72-hour waiting period in Missouri, or the 20-week bans that limit abortion access in nine states. And, as Amendment One dictates, the legislature would not be required to include exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is in danger. Read more…

Defend Women's Reproductive Rights

All Eyes on Reproductive Rights: Is Tennessee the Next Texas?

On RACblog, we’ve been following the restrictive Texas law that attempted to shut down more than half of the state’s reproductive health clinics. If you’re as appalled as we are by this effort to limit women’s reproductive freedom, I have upsetting news: Tennessee could be next. On November 4, voters in the Volunteer State will decide on Amendment One, which would undo language in the state constitution that defines abortion as a fundamental right. Currently, the Tennessee state legislature does not have the power to enact abortion restrictions, a welcome, if surprising protection in a region with strong opposition to reproductive rights. With the passage of Amendment One, Tennessee lawmakers would have the authority to enforce restrictive policies like those in Texas, like the mandatory 72-hour waiting period in Missouri, or like the 20-week bans that limit abortion access in nine states. Read more…

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