FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2021
In response to the Massachusetts state legislature’s recent passage of legislation to remove barriers to abortion access, Rabbi Marla Feldman, executive director of Women of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Women of Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and wider Reform Movement:
Rabbi Feldman: “We applaud the Massachusetts legislature’s work to protect reproductive rights and eliminate medically unnecessary barriers to abortion access. With these provisions now law, young adults seeking an abortion will be able to access the care they need without navigating an often hostile court system, and pregnant people facing a fatal fetal diagnosis later in pregnancy will be able to seek support from a provider they know and trust, rather than being forced to travel out of state for care.
We are proud of the numerous WRJ advocates from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who joined in advocacy efforts to secure this hard-fought win.”
Rabbi Pesner: “The passage of these reforms to ensure equitable abortion access is a historic milestone for the people of Massachusetts and provides a model to other states seeking to restore dignity and moral agency to every individual to make reproductive health care decisions for themselves.
Thank you to the Reform Jewish lay leaders and clergy in Massachusetts for your advocacy, and in particular to Rabbi Liz Hirsch of Temple Anshe Amunim in Pittsfield for her leadership in mobilizing our communities to act on this important bill.”
Rabbi Hirsch noted, “Our rabbinic sages teach, ’It is not incumbent upon [us] to complete the work, but neither are [we] free to desist from it.’ The road to the passage of these provisions was not linear, but thanks to the persistence of the legislature and our advocates, we celebrate this as a victory in the ongoing fight for reproductive rights.”
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.RAC.org for more.
Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism representing tens of thousands of women in hundreds of women’s groups, strengthening the voice of women worldwide and empowering them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values. Visit www.WRJ.org for more.