JRF Statement on Reproductive Rights

View statement online

First issued in 1981, Updated by Rabbi Shawn Zevit and Rabbi Richard Hirsh, 2006

Founded in 1955, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation is the rapidly growing synagogue arm of the Reconstructionist movement, serving over 100 congregations and havurot spread across North America . A voice of Reconstructionist Judaism in the greater Jewish world, JRF provides a wide array of services to its affiliates.

People experience Reconstructionist congregations as open, inclusive, and egalitarian, both in principle and in practice. JRF-affiliated communities are autonomous, progressive, and democratic.

The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation partners with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice to advocate for, and support reproductive choice through the moral power of religious communities. JRF and RCRC seeks to articulate and advocate for the availability of information and resources that support reproductive choice. We have supported RCRC’s initiatives for many years reflective as reflected in the Reconstructionist movement’s support of women’s rights and a woman’s right to choice in the area of reproductive rights.

Although the Jewish tradition regards children as a blessing, a gift of life itself, the tradition allows for abortion in order to safeguard the life and physical and mental health of the mother. While Jewish tradition did not take a consistent position on the status of a fetus, Jewish law and tradition does recognize abortion as a difficult and challenging moral issue. We recognize that abortion is a painful choice, one that may need to be made in consequence of other compelling moral and medical concerns.

Reconstructionist Judaism recognizes that we, as Jews live in both religious and civic cultures simultaneously. The law of the United States of America supports a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, although limitations and restrictions have been applied. The JRF likewise supports the preservation and protection of the reproductive rights of women, and the individual right of women to make their own difficult decisions regarding abortion.

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