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Reproductive Health & Rights: Sisterhood Shabbat Welcomes North American WRJ Speaker

At the Sisterhood Shabbat on January 31, Ally Karpel from the WRJ-RAC Reproductive Health & Rights Campaign will address some of the most contentious public policy issues today: the debate over reproductive rights and what restrictions a society may impose on reproductive health care decisions.

The legal rights to women’s health care, birth control, and abortion do not guarantee access for all, even with Roe v. Wade in place. Many women face financial barriers, lack transportation to a clinic, or may not be able to take the time off from work. The problem is far bigger than a legal issue alone.

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) and the Religious Action Center (RAC) are working together to address these issues on behalf of the North American Reform movement. Ms. Karpel’s work focuses on reproductive health and rights advocacy and mobilizing Reform communities to take action on the local, state, and federal levels.

TBE member Jane Taves is on the board of WRJ and serves as the vice president of advocacy, marketing & communications. She says: “I am proud that Women of Reform Judaism is championing this important work, and I am honored to work closely with Ally Karpel. She is a true expert on the issues around access to reproductive healthcare. I look forward to introducing her to our TBE community.”

The right of individuals to control their own bodies is deeply rooted in in Jewish law and has been the position of the Reform movement since 1935. It is grounded in the concept of human dignity —Kavod Ha’Briyot—which supports the right of individuals to make moral decisions about health care. It is also consistent with our respect for the sanctity of life. Banning potentially life-saving medical procedures, interfering with a doctor-patient decision-making, and restricting family planning methods only to those who can afford or access them—all of these run contrary to the Jewish commandment to protect life. These problems are also closely tied to other social justice and human rights concerns like poverty, sexism, and racism.

Ms. Karpel will also address how the Jewish community can amplify its impact on this issue. With states across the country passing abortion restrictions and the future of Roe v. Wade up in the air, now is the time to put our Jewish values into action to protect and enhance reproductive rights. You can read more about the collaboration between WRJ and the RAC here.

We hope you'll join us for this very interesting evening. More details are available here.

About the RAC: For nearly six decades, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has been the hub of Jewish social justice work. The RAC mobilizes around federal, state, and local legislation; supports and develops congregational leaders; and organizes communities to create a world overflowing with justice, compassion, and peace. Their work is completely nonpartisan.​

August 13, 2020 23 Av 5780