Reform Movement Joint Statement on Texas Anti-Abortion Law

September 1, 2021

In response to a new Texas anti-abortion law that came into effect today, leaders of Reform Jewish Movement institutions issued the following statement:

We denounce, in the strongest terms, the law that went into effect today in Texas, effectively making abortion care illegal in that state. In the most insidious state abortion restriction adopted to date, this Texas law makes abortion illegal as early as six weeks, before many are even aware that they are pregnant. The law is manipulatively designed to thwart courts’ ability to protect reproductive freedom, prohibiting state officials from enforcing the law but empowering any Texan to sue any person—an abortion provider, a counselor, a member of the clergy, a clinic worker, even a driver who delivers a person to a clinic, to name a few examples—who assists in accessing abortion care. For this reason, many Texas clinics are now unable to provide abortion care at all, as they are understandably unwilling to place their workers at intolerable risk from potentially ruinous lawsuits enabled by this Texas law.

We are concerned about individuals who cannot afford to travel long distances to secure abortion care in neighboring states. We are also deeply concerned about Jews who will be unable to pursue an abortion in keeping with Jewish law, which mandates abortion when necessary to preserve the pregnant person’s well-being. With respect to Judaism’s own limited approval of abortion: “as we would not impose the historic position of Jewish teaching upon individuals nor legislate it as normative for society at large, so we would not wish the position of any other group imposed upon the Jewish community or the general population.”[i] We also ground ourselves in kavod habriyot—the sacred obligation to provide medical care.

We will continue to work to overturn this law, prevent similar laws from being adopted in other states, and affirm the right of every person to make their own reproductive health decisions.

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass, President
Rabbi Hara E. Person, Chief Executive

Union for Reform Judaism
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman, Chair
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President

Commission on Social Action and Religious Action Center
Susan Friedberg Kalson, Chair
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director

Women of Reform Judaism
Sara Charney, President
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director

Women’s Rabbinic Network
Rabbi Mary Zamore, Executive Director
Rabbi Beth Klafter & Rabbi Emily Segal, Co-Presidents

American Conference of Cantors
Cantor Claire Franco, President
Rachel Roth, Chief Operating Officer

NFTY, the Reform Jewish Youth Movement
Lev Mosbacher, President
Lynne Butner, Director of NFTY Engagement

Reform Pension Board
Leonard Teitelbaum, President
Michael A. Kimmel, Chief Executive Officer

Program & Engagement Professionals of Reform Judaism
Jason Plotkin, President

Association of Reform Jewish Educators
Marisa Kaiser, President
Rabbi Stanley T. Schickler,  Executive Director

Men of Reform Judaism
Rob Himmelstein, President
Steven Portnoy, Executive Director

National Association for Temple Administration
Jack Feldman, President
Michael Liepman, Executive Director

Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism
Fern Katz, President
Tricia Ginis, Executive Director

National Association of Retired Reform Rabbis
Rabbi Sheldon Harr, President
Rabbis Julian & Susie Cook, Co-Executive Vice Presidents

[i] “State Restrictions on Access to Reproductive Health Services,” Resolution Adopted by the CCAR, April, 2008, State Restrictions on Access to Reproductive Health Services – Central Conference of American Rabbis (