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Reform Jewish Movement Leaders in Texas Condemn Executive Order Barring Access to Abortion

Reform Jewish Movement Leaders in Texas Condemn Executive Order Barring Access to Abortion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT:
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team
sgarfinkel@westendstrategy.com; Cell: 202-765-4290

Reform Jewish Movement Leaders in Texas Condemn Executive Order Barring Access to Abortion

HOUSTON – In response to last week’s executive order in Texas blocking abortion access, Rabbi David Segal, Lead Organizer of the Texas Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-TX), and Jennifer Daley, Women of Reform Judaism Southwest District President, issued the following statement:

“As Texans struggle with the public health crisis and economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the last thing we can afford is exploitation of this public health crisis by our state’s top elected officials for political ends. Unfortunately, Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton are doing just that – using chaos caused by the coronavirus as cover to ban abortion in Texas. This unconscionable move to strip a constitutionally protected right from millions of people across our state runs counter not only to expert medical advice but also to common sense: the decision to safely terminate a pregnancy is time-sensitive, and any delay can have life-altering consequences for patients.

“The Texas Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism represents 40,000 Reform Jews across 39 congregations in the Lone Star State. Guided by our most sacred Jewish values, we oppose this unjust state order. It is due to the fundamental belief in the sanctity of life and the Jewish value of kavod ha’briyot, respect for human dignity, that we believe individuals must have the ability to make decisions about their healthcare needs.

“Moreover, the Reform Movement’s advocacy in response to this pandemic has centered on an understanding that the most vulnerable in our society must be placed at the center of government responses to COVID-19. At a time when most communities have enacted social distancing policies, all those seeking urgent health care – reproductive or otherwise -- are already grappling with the heightened risk of exposure to, and contraction of, COVID-19. It is unacceptable for the Abbott administration to place additional, politically motivated roadblocks in the way of Texans seeking reproductive health care at this time.

“We support the lawsuit filed last week by Texas abortion providers to block Governor Abbott’s order, and call on the governor to immediately rescind it.”

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The Texas Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is a state project of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, which represents 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.

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), founded in 1913, is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. WRJ represents 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.

Published: 03/30/2020