NCJW Applauds Passage of NO BAN Act in the House of Representatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2020

Media Contact
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team
sgarfinkel@westendstrategy.com; 202-765-4290

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) released the following statement today in response to the House of Representative’s passage of the NO BAN Act. Chief Executive Officer Sheila Katz issued the following statement:

“The House of Representatives made history today by passing the first-ever Muslim civil rights bill. The NO BAN Act repeals the Muslim Ban, Asylum Ban, and Refugee Ban, sending a clear message: America is a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of where they are from, how they worship, or their immigration status.

“Since this Muslim travel ban has been in effect, tens of thousands seeking to leave their home countries due to violence against women, conflict, terror, and human rights violations — as well as those simply seeking to study or visit family — have been prevented from entering the United States. Our nation should be working to reunite families, not keep them apart.

“The Torah commands us va’ahavtem et ha-ger — to love the stranger, as we were once strangers. As Jews, we know what it is like to wish others would respond while policies rooted in religious injustice are carried out. Many of us know what it is like to seek safety in the United States, only to be turned away out of prejudice and under the pretense of security. Today’s vote is a rejection of hate.

“We thank the House of Representatives for passing the NO BAN Act and now call on the Senate to pass this critical legislation. The National Council of Jewish Women will not stop fighting until the millions of American families separated by the bans have been reunited.”

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of over 100,000 volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.

 

National Council of Jewish Women responds to Supreme Court’s decision allowing employers to deny birth control coverage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2020

Media Contact
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team
sgarfinkel@westendstrategy.com; 202-765-4290

 

Today, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration was lawful in allowing virtually any employer or university to deny birth control coverage through their health insurance plans if they have a religious or “moral” objection to contraception. National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) CEO Sheila Katz released the following statement:

“A person’s ability to access birth control should not be dependent on the religious views of their employer or educational institution under the guise of religious freedom. As many people’s contraceptive use is informed by their religious beliefs, denying them access to contraception is a violation of their religious freedom, privileging the views of some over others in violation of the First Amendment. Jewish tradition affirms that access to birth control is a matter of human rights and basic human dignity.

“Further, the high cost of birth control has meant that many — particularly low-income people, people of color, young people, and LGBTQ individuals already facing multiple barriers to care — cannot access birth control consistently without insurance coverage. What the Justices failed to take into account, in a global pandemic and a collective reckoning with racial justice, is that access to birth control is a matter of health equity and social and economic justice. It enables proper family planning, treatment of health conditions, the ability to reach employment and education goals, improved economic security, and so much more.

“Religious freedom is not a license to impose one’s beliefs on others or to obstruct or coerce the exercise of another’s conscience. Our reproductive freedoms are integrally bound to our religious liberty and we are committed to advancing the goals of reproductive justice so every person can make moral and faith-informed decisions about their body, health, and family free from restrictions and stigma.

“NCJW fought for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control benefit, which has allowed an estimated 62 million people to access no-cost contraception. And, despite today’s decision, we won’t stop working for universal access to high quality, affordable, accessible, and comprehensive care — including sexual and reproductive health care — and for the insurance coverage necessary to access these critical services.”

New National Council of Jewish Women Campaign Urges Rabbis to Fight for Reproductive Freedom

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team
sgarfinkel@westendstrategy.com; 202-765-4290 

 Jewish clergy from across the Jewish denominational spectrum are invited to join new Rabbis for Repro campaign

 WASHINGTON – With access to reproductive health care being threatened at every level of government, the National Council of Jewish Women, an organization at the frontlines of the fight for reproductive health, rights, and justice for over 125 years, today launched Rabbis for Repro. The new campaign encourages Jewish clergy to pledge that they will teach about the issue and create an open system of support for reproductive health care access in their communities. 

The Supreme Court’s ruling in June Medical Services LLC v. Russo may have been a victory against TRAP laws (targeted restriction on abortion providers), but the fight to ensure abortion access is far from over. It is more important than ever to reaffirm the Jewish community’s commitment to ensuring all who need it have access to information and reproductive health care. 

“One in four people who can become pregnant will have an abortion by age 45, and that includes people in the Jewish community. Our tradition views abortion as essential healthcare, not only permitted but in some cases commanded when a life is at risk,” said NCJW CEO Sheila Katz. “Now, we’re asking Rabbis, Cantors, and Jewish educators to commit to teaching their communities about the Jewish perspective on this critical issue, making it clear that they will welcome and support those who have or may in the future choose to terminate a pregnancy.”

“Lack of abortion access disproportionately affects people living in poverty, the LBGTQ community, people of color, and young people. It is more important than ever that our Jewish leaders step up and support our communities by living out our values,” said Katz. 

Rabbis and cantors are on the frontlines, serving members of their communities who are contemplating abortion, have had an abortion, are coping with trauma, or even those who are simply interested in learning more about what Judaism has to say about abortion. Clergy have a platform to educate others and Rabbis for Repro will provide necessary and informative resources. 

“In Judaism, we believe people should have full control of their own bodies, and that doesn’t change with reproductive health,” said Rabbi Lori Koffman, NCJW Board Vice President. “Reproductive health care, including abortion, is health care.”

Clergy who sign the pledge will be invited to participate in training online and will receive tools and resources to become public allies for reproductive freedom.

“Reproductive freedom is a Jewish issue,” said Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, who worked with NCJW to create the Rabbis for Repro campaign. “Our religion commands us to not stand idly by while barriers to healthcare place any individual’s health, well-being, autonomy, or economic security at risk.”

So far religious leaders across every stream of Judaism (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and Renewal) have signed onto the pledge including the heads of the Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative movements – Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, and Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal – as well as other prominent rabbis, such as Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, Rabbi Tiferet Berenbaum, Rabbi Asher Lopatin, and Rabbi Rachel Timoner. 

To learn more about Rabbis for Repro visit https://www.rabbisforrepro.com.

The Supreme Court’s decision today in June Medical Services v. Russo once again reaffirms the constitutional right to abortion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2020

 

Media Contact
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team
sgarfinkel@westendstrategy.com; 202-765-4290

 

WASHINGTON –  Today, the Court upheld settled precedent and defended our rights, striking down a Louisiana law designed to impose medically unnecessary requirements on providers and to block patients from obtaining time-sensitive, essential health care.

National Council of Jewish Women CEO Sheila Katz and NCJW New Orleans President Susan Hess released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision:

“NCJW is so glad that the Supreme Court has once again upheld our constitutionally-protected right to bodily autonomy, ensuring that that the state’s three clinics can remain open and continue to serve the nearly 10,000 Louisianans seeking safe and legal abortions every year.

“However, this fight is far from over as anti-abortion lawmakers across the country continue their sustained and coordinated attacks on our reproductive freedom. Indeed, the law struck down today represents just one of the nearly 450 state laws restricting access to reproductive health care — which range from outright abortion bans to biased counseling mandates to medically unnecessary regulations imposing onerous requirements on providers and patients — passed since 2011.

“As if this terrifying trend wasn’t enough, the Hyde Amendment has denied abortion coverage to those enrolled in federal health programs for over 40 years despite tireless efforts to end this discriminatory policy. Significantly, even where abortion is available in theory, structural barriers to care resulting from long-standing social and economic inequities often make this basic health care unavailable in fact, disproportionately harming people of color, young people, immigrants, low-income people, rural communities, and LGBTQ individuals.

“As people of faith, we refuse to remain idle while moral autonomy, health, and lives are at stake. Every single day, we advocate for abortion rights and access for all because of Jewish values, not in spite of them. NCJW calls on Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (HR 2975/S 1645) to establish a federal standard safeguarding access to high-quality care and securing our constitutional rights by protecting patients and providers from political interference. Our lawmakers must act now to ensure that everyone can make their own moral and faith-informed decisions about their body, family, and future.”

The National Council of Jewish Women is deeply disappointed about the appointment of Justin Walker to a lifetime seat on the judiciary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT:
Stephanie Cohen
scohen@ncjw.org

The National Council of Jewish Women is deeply disappointed about the appointment of Justin Walker to a lifetime seat on the judiciary

WASHINGTON – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is deeply disappointed that instead of voting on pressing matters — like tackling the current COVID-19 health pandemic — the Senate voted for a lifetime appointment of Justin Walker to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Jody Rabhan, NCJW Chief Policy Officer responded with the following:

“Despite a resurgence of COVID-19 and the real need to focus on a federal response to dismantling systems of oppression, the Senate chose to instead prioritize the confirmation of Justin Walker today (51-42) to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Walker has never served as the sole or lead attorney trying a case to verdict or judgment and has only taken one deposition during his entire career. In addition to his extreme lack of experience, Walker brings a partisan agenda to the bench, which calls into question his ability to be fair. In his hearing, he repeated his contention that the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was indefensible. He praised Justice Kavanaugh for setting out a “road map” for unraveling the ACA and praised Kavanaugh’s dissent arguing that the contraceptive coverage benefit of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.

“Scant experience coupled with a desire to dismantle our nation’s health care law as millions are sick and dying from COVID-19 should be disqualifying on its face. Federal courts are the last line of defense for our constitutional rights, and the judges who sit on them must be fair, independent, and qualified. Walker’s confirmation of what is widely considered the second-highest court is a blight on our third branch of government, and a loss for equality and justice. National Council of Jewish Women will continue to ensure our nation’s judiciary is reserved for those with the highest levels of integrity, political independence, and relevant experience.”

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The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.

The National Council of Jewish Women Celebrates Supreme Court Decision on DACA Recipients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 18, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT:

Alyson Malinger, West End Strategy Team
amalinger@westendstrategy.com; 917-935-7311

The National Council of Jewish Women Celebrates Supreme Court Decision on DACA Recipients

WASHINGTON – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision in the Department of Homeland Security, et al v. Regents of The University of California, et al, which allows Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients to remain in the country without fear of deportation. Sheila Katz, CEO of NCJW, responded with the following:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today means that nearly 800,000 young people, who are Americans in every way but their status, remain protected.

“This is an important victory that reaffirms the United States should be a place where communities and families can thrive regardless of where they were born. We must return to this vision and will continue to do everything in our power to protect Dreamers from deportation and work for a future where every person can live without fear, regardless of their immigration status.

“Since this victory could be reversed by the administration’s ability to end DACA entirely, we urge the Senate to act now to pass the Dream Act (HR 6) to provide Dreamers with a permanent path to citizenship.”

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The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.