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House Vote Severely Curtails Abortion Rights


Dr. Gutmann: "This bill threatens to roll back the clock to before Roe v. Wade, when many women were forced to risk their lives and seek unsafe abortions, and we condemn the House of Representatives for sanctioning such an unconstitutional and unjust move backward."

Contact: Eric Harris or Deborah Swerdlow
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 4, 2011 -- In response to today's House passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), Dr. Cheryl Gutmann, Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

As the Commission on Social Action gathers in Washington, D.C., we strongly condemn today's vote in the House of Representatives to pass the so-called "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 3). Existing law already prohibits federal funding of abortion. If H.R. 3 becomes law, it would prevent a woman from using her own, private money for abortion services, permanently enshrine several existing restrictions that disproportionally limit access to abortion services for low-income women, and drastically alter the tax code to interfere with a business' decision to offer its employees comprehensive health care coverage that includes the full range of reproductive health services. This bill threatens to roll back the clock to before Roe v. Wade, when many women were forced to risk their lives and seek unsafe abortions, and we condemn the House of Representatives for sanctioning such an unconstitutional and unjust move backward.

This disappointing vote comes less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the RAC's flagship public policy conference, the Consultation on Conscience, where we marked the RAC's 50th anniversary. As we celebrated the achievements of the last 50 years, we proudly recalled that for more than 80 years the Reform Movement has stood for a woman's right to choose. We continue to be inspired by our tradition's unequivocal understanding that a woman is entitled to make decisions about her own health and well-being -- and perfectly capable of doing so, guided by her own conscience and in consultation with her doctor.

We regret that we must keep fighting these social justice battles, but we recommit ourselves at this Consultation to upholding fundamental liberties such as a woman's right to make her own moral choices. We urge the Senate to reject H.R. 3 and commend President Obama for already expressing his willingness to veto the bill if it comes to his desk.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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