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Statement by Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center, on the So Called "Partial Birth Abortion" Ban
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Press Conference

September 17, 1998

On behalf of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, their 870 congregations and 1,880 rabbis, and the 1.5 million Reform Jews across North America, I am proud to be here today to add our voice to those who support a women's right to choose, and to join with these distinguished religious leaders in calling on the Senate to uphold President Clinton's veto of the so-called "partial birth abortion" ban.Our message today is clear:

  • To the Christian Coalition and others who would have government invade our bedrooms and doctor's offices, we say: you have no place there.
  • To President Clinton, who has steadfastly defended reproductive rights against an onslaught of attempts to enact new restrictions, we say: thank you.
  • To Members of the Senate, who will tomorrow be asked to uphold the President's veto, we say: please stand with us, and protect the right of America's women to make their own decisions about when and whether to have a child.

To all we say: is not a debate between people who care about religion and people who do not. Today, as a powerful illustration of the fact that people of faith support a women's right to make her own reproductive decisions, I am pleased to present a letter, signed by over 700 rabbis, which supports the President's veto on the so-called "partial birth abortion" ban. The letter states: "Abortion is a deeply personal issue. Women are capable of making moral decisions, often in consultation with their clergy, families and physicians, on whether or not to have an abortion. We believe that religious matters are best left to religious communities, not politicians."

We urge all Senators to uphold the President's veto, and we pledge our vigorous support in this effort.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in 875 congregations throughout North America.

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