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A Reproductive Rights Victory at the Supreme Court!

A Reproductive Rights Victory at the Supreme Court!

Reproductive choice advocates across the United States are cheering today after the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, deeming unconstitutional a Texas law in Texas aimed at closing abortion providers. Explains Tracy Wolf, legislative assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC),

In the 1992 landmark case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court ruled that state regulations of abortion must not place an “undue burden” on a woman’s access. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the Supreme Court will address whether the admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements of HB2 [a Texas law that imposed numerous restrictions on clinics and abortion providers] violate this “undue burden” standard established in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

For a more in-depth breakdown of the case, read Wolf’s explanation.

Reform Rabbi Michael Namath, program director at the RAC, recorded a Facebook Live video from the steps of the Supreme Court just after the ruling was announced. He was accompanied by dozens of college-aged participants in Machon Kaplan, a work-study program for Jewish young adults. Watch their video on the RAC’s Facebook page.

In response to the decision, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the RAC, issued the following statement:

“We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision today in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down Texas’s unnecessarily burdensome and medically inaccurate provisions that aimed to restrict access to abortion. This historic decision ensures that women in Texas and across the United States face fewer barriers to receiving legal healthcare services.

Jewish tradition teaches the importance of a woman’s ability to make her own healthcare decisions. That principle is as true today as it was in Medieval times when Jewish physician and philosopher Maimonides wrote that, “Women are commanded to care for the health and well-being of their bodies above all else.” These lessons continue to inspire us today and we are proud that the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis joined the Religious Institute’s amicus brief and that Women of Reform Judaism joined the National Women’s Law Center amicus brief, both on the side of Whole Woman’s Health and women’s access to reproductive health care.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting abortion access for all women, irrespective of income, race, or geography. All women must be able to obtain safe, legal and affordable abortion as a core element of reproductive rights and women’s equality. We are pleased that today’s Supreme Court decision brings us closer to that reality."

Learn more about the Reform Jewish community’s views and efforts on reproductive rights and women’s health.

Kate Kaput is the assistant director, messaging and branding, on the Union for Reform Judaism's marketing and communications team. In this role, she serves as a content manager and editor for ReformJudaism.org. A native of Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson, OH, and an alumna of the Religious Action Center's Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Fellowship, Kate holds a degree in magazine journalism and lives in Cleveland, OH, with her husband.

Kate Kaput
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