WASHINGTON – In response to the anticipated proposed regulation released by the administration today that will deny organizations that provide abortions or abortion referrals from receiving federal family planning funds, 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, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement:
“The administration’s expected decision to prohibit organizations that perform or refer patients for abortion from receiving Title X grant money erodes women’s reproductive rights and undermines free speech. This rule is particularly pernicious, as it dangerously defunds organizations that provide lifesaving health care to women and severely restricts women’s access to information about their reproductive health.
“Millions of women will lose access to basic health care such as screenings for sexually transmitted disease and contraception, simply because the organizations providing their health care also perform or refer patients for abortion with their own private money.
“Jewish tradition teaches that a doctor is obligated to heal, and a person who prevents a physician from doing so ‘is considered to have shed blood’ (Shulchan Arukh Yore De’ah 336:1). Restricting the information doctors can give their patients prevents physicians from healing to the best of their abilities. This is a sin that violates the sacred doctor-patient relationship.
“We will not stand by as the administration tries to silence doctors and control women’s bodies. We stand with Planned Parenthood and all organizations that are ensuring women’s access to the full range of safe and legal reproductive health services.”
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 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.