February 24, 2005
Assaults on reproductive health services continue to grow on a local, state and federal level. Moreover, access to abortion and affordable family planning has been severely restricted. There is also a growing movement to bestow the rights of full personhood on the fetus. In light of the debate within American society regarding a woman’s right to choose, the JCPA reaffirms its support for a woman’s legal right to reproductive choice and for adequately funded family planning programs in the United States and abroad, in accordance with our 1999 resolution on reproductive health.
The JCPA believes that:
- Reproductive health decisions are best made by individuals in consultation with their families and health care professionals based on personal religious beliefs;
- Restrictions on the right to choose and lack of access to services threaten this constitutionally-protected individual right.
The community relations field should:
- Oppose any efforts to deny a woman’s right to reproductive choice, including any efforts to deny access to birth control;
- Oppose efforts to restrict a woman’s ability to access reproductive health services;
- Support efforts to safeguard Roe v. Wade.
Dissent: The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UOJCA) does not as a matter of longstanding policy, join with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in resolutions concerning “reproductive choice. ” We cannot endorse a public policy that does not reflect the complex response of halacha (Jewish Law) to the abortion issue. In most circumstances the halacha proscribes abortion but there are cases in which halacha permits and indeed mandates abortion. The question is a sensitive one and personal decisions in this area should be made in consultation with recognized halachic authorities.