By Lindsay Morris
Advocating for abortion access is more critical than ever. On Saturday, October 2, thousands of people gathered in downtown Washington, D.C. to do just that as part of the Women’s March Rally for Abortion Justice. Before the rally Saturday, National Council of Jewish Women hosted a Shabbat morning service led by Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and NCJW CEO Sheila Katz. Across the country, NCJW advocates joined sister events and marches taking place in more than 600 cities.
Addressing the crowd in D.C. on Saturday morning, Sheila Katz said:
“Abortion justice is a critical religious freedom issue. Religious freedom is meant to be a shield to protect and never a sword to discriminate. And right now in the state of Texas, rabbis can be sued for counseling their congregants on having a medical procedure that is in line with our religious beliefs. That is not what religious freedom looks like.
We are commanded to LOVE thy neighbor, not SUE thy neighbor. To LOVE thy neighbor, not REPORT thy neighbor.”
We’re proud to come together and are grateful to every member of NCJW who helped to plan a rally or showed up to lend their voices in this critical moment. Below are reflections of Section leaders from across the country.
“As a leader in NCJW, a grandmother, and a concerned citizen I am marching to lend my voice and presence to express my profound disappointment on the stripping of reproductive justice happening in Texas.” – Ann Kocher, Austin Section Co-President
“I march because I grew up in a post-Roe world where I was told I could be anything I wanted to be, that I could achieve anything I set my mind to, without limitation and without exception. But I see people trying to limit younger generations, putting roadblocks and impediments to prevent them from crashing through that glass ceiling. My daughter may just change the world, and I won’t let anyone stop her.” – Melissa Prober, Chicago North Shore Section Executive Director
“I got involved when my twin eighth grade girls began expressing dismay that they felt powerless to change the unjust and the ugly in our world. It made me realize that it was up to me, and the people around me whom I could impact, to make them see that change is in our hands. My mother is a lifelong member of NCJW. Knowing that NCJW is a fierce and powerful advocate for social justice, equality, and Tikkun Olam has stirred me to become a member, too. It is actions like this that make NCJW so relevant and so important to a younger generation of Jews. I am so appreciative of the support the National Council of Jewish Women has shown to the Rally for Abortion Justice.” – Melissa Kahn, NCJW|MI member and organizer of the West Bloomfield Rally for Abortion Justice
“I marched as a powerful reminder and a siren to all who have become complacent, burned-out and fatigued. We have daughters, granddaughters, nieces and friends who cannot fathom what life would be like without reproductive choice. I hope and pray they never have to find out!” – Stacey Hader Epstein, Atlanta Section Co-President
The fight for abortion justice doesn’t end here. Join NCJW’s upcoming 73Forward campaign to be a part of the Jewish communal movement working to increase on-the-ground access to abortion care for anyone who needs it. We will see you in the streets!