The WRJ-RAC Reproductive Health & Rights Brit Olam Cohort is grounded in a reproductive justice framework, a contemporary framework coined by 12 visionary Black women in 1994, that centers the voices and concerns of marginalized communities in conversations relating to reproduction, sexuality, and families. The reproductive justice framework was created to address the ways in which the historical focus on reproductive rights alone falls short when it isolates these issues from other social justice and human rights concerns, like poverty, racism, and ableism. The Reproductive Justice Movement and reproductive justice framework urges us to look beyond a pro-choice lens by taking into account the ways in which our identities, communities, and other systems of oppression may impact access to key reproductive health care services and rights. In other words, the legal right to have an abortion doesn't mean much if people cannot access it due to their economic status, geographic location, race, age, gender, or other identity factors.
Reproductive justice has three primary values:
1. The right not to have a child
2. The right to have a child
3. The right to parent children in safe and healthy environments
Why is the Reform Movement incorporating a reproductive justice framework into our existing reproductive health and rights work?
Life is sacred in Judaism. Banning potentially life-saving medical procedures and interfering with a doctor’s decision-making runs contrary to the Jewish commandment to protect life. Restricting abortion, contraceptives, and other family planning methods to only the select who can afford or access them runs contrary to the Jewish commandment to protect life. This cohort brings together Jewish communities to pursue reproductive rights and reproductive justice together.
Has your congregation or community officially joined the Brit Olam Reproductive Health & Rights cohort? If not, sign up here so we can include you in all future cohort communications and mobilizations.
If your community is already part of the cohort, make sure you join the conversation happening in the Tent, the Reform Movement's online collaboration platform, to network with other Jewish communities working on this issue.
Encourage your congregation to urge their members of Congress to cosponsor the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act (EACH Woman Act) and support abortion access and affordability. As you send your own letter, consider adding personal experiences and values to ensure your elected official understands your connection to the issue.
Help promote reproductive health care access for millions of people across the U.S. by writing a letter to your senators, urging them to include provisions in the fiscal year 2020 funding bills that protect Title X.
- Why Incorporating a Reproductive Justice Framework is Integral to Reform Jewis Values - The Reform Movement, led by Women of Reform Judaism, has long supported the right to make decisions about one's own reproductive life according to one's own beliefs. Yet we know that focusing on reproductive health and rights isn't enough when countless systemic barriers exist that prevent people from being able to afford, access, or make informed decisions about their reproductive life. Learn more about why incorporating a reproductive justice framework is in line with our Reform Jewish values and what the movement has done to advance reproductive health and rights since 1935.
- Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice through Jewish Text - Jewish text and tradition have much to offer the reproductive justice conversation. Download and discuss this document with your Reform Jewish congregation or community.
The actions below are not intended to be an exhaustive list of ways to make change but rather serve as a guide or starting point. After determining with your community where your priorities lie, feel free to think creatively about the types of actions you would like to take.
- Abortion Access - Recently, we have witnessed unprecedented efforts by states throughout the U.S. to severely restrict or ban abortion. While the overall number of anti-abortion bills introduced in U.S. states thus far in 2019 is essentially the same as in 2018, the nature of the recent bills is more harmful and restrictive than anything introduced previously.
- Contraceptives and Family Planning - Access to family planning information, care, and services is critical in the struggle for reproductive justice, as it provides individuals with the abilities to control their lives and future, and can disrupt generational cycles of poverty.
- Comprehensive Sex Education - Comprehensive sex education includes information about sex, sexuality, relationships, contraception and condoms. Sex education is directly linked to the pursuit of reproductive justice. Without it, individuals cannot make informed decisions about their bodies, sexual activity, or futures.
- Federal Legislation - Learn more about how the Women’s Health Protection Act and EACH Woman Act work in tandem to promote abortion access and affordability.
- Community Action - Reproductive justice is about more than abortion alone. Partner with local and state reproductive justice organizations to host educational and advocacy-based events on a wide variety of reproductive justice topics.
Glossary of Terms - We've compiled simple explanations for many of the terms we often hear when discussing reproductive justice, including "crisis pregnancy center," "Hyde Amendment" and "TRAP law."
Educational Programming - Get your community involved using these ideas for educational programming.
Federal, State, and Local Partners
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): The ACLU is a leading civil liberties organization and works actively on reproductive rights. The ACLU’s website contains updates on some of the major reproductive rights cases and pieces of legislation around the country. ACLU also has state-wide chapters
Center for Reproductive Rights: The Center for Reproductive Rights is the only global legal advocacy organization dedicated to reproductive rights, with expertise in both U.S. constitutional and international human rights law.
Guttmacher Institute: Guttmacher is a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally. Their website is an excellent resource for graphics, maps, and other visual devices to track reproductive rights across the globe.
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda: In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national organizational initiative designed to amplify and lift up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels. The partnership is made up of eight local Black women's Reproductive Justice organizations throughout the United States.
NARAL Pro-Choice America: NARAL is one of the leading organizations fighting for reproductive rights. Both NARAL’s national office and its 22 state affiliates actively monitor state legislation and are great resources for education and advocacy.
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health: NLIRH is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to advancing health, dignity, and justice for the 29 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States.
National Partnership for Women and Families: The National Partnership is a policy, education, and outreach organization that works to build a just and equitable society in which all women and families can live with dignity, respect, and security.
National Women’s Law Center: NWLC is a leader in advancing gender equity through litigation and policy initiatives. In addition to providing helpful resources on reproductive rights, NWLC is a helpful tool in learning more about pay equity, gender-based violence, and other women’s rights issues.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund: PPFA has great educational information as well as resources for action on a federal and state-wide level. The “State News” section of their website provides useful information to track legislation in your state, as well as how to become connected with local Planned Parenthood chapters.
SisterSong: SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective is a Southern based, national membership organization whose aim is to build an effective network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities.
The Brit Olam work encompasses multiple ways to join a network of congregations working together toward a common goal.
Your congregation or community may choose to join a RAC state project, an issue-based cohort, or both.
In this way, each individual action can amplify and increase the impact of all others. We are doing things together.