December 2019 BAW Social Justice Update: RAC-CA Reproductive Health and Rights Research Team | Congregation Beth Am

December 2019 BAW Social Justice Update: RAC-CA Reproductive Health and Rights Research Team

By Felisa Ihly

The Reform Movement has a history of passing strong policy in favor of reproductive justice. Due to the fundamental belief in the sanctity of life and respect for human dignity, abortion is sometimes viewed as both a moral and necessary decision. This same sanctity underscores the vital need for medically accurate sexuality education and for high-quality family planning services.
In a 1935 resolution, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) expressed support for the lifting of bans on the dissemination of birth control literature. The CCAR followed with a 1947 resolution on birth control, followed by a URJ resolution in 1950. In 1965, WRJ passed a resolution concerning Judaism and the Family, stating, "We appeal for liberalization of the abortion laws of the various States and urge our United States constituents to work toward this end."

The California Religious Action Center is forming a new research team to address the issues of Reproductive Health and Rights, and welcomes all with an interest in influencing the Reform Movement's response on this topic. Issue research teams play an important role within the broader RAC-CA structure. These groups make recommendations to the RAC-CA Leadership Team about which bills/ballot measures RAC-CA could support, develop strategies for advocacy in coordination with other research teams and the leadership team, and help congregational social justice teams move into action.

Comprised of lay leaders and clergy, teams research bills and ballot measures to help set the RAC-CA legislative agenda and mobilize congregational social justice teams. The four main responsibilities of issue research teams are to:

  1. Identify bills and ballot measures which RAC-CA can work on
  2. Stay in touch with allied groups about their issues
  3. Identify actions that congregations can take to advance bills and ballot measures
  4. Help reach out to appropriate congregations about actions they can take

The Reproductive Health and Rights team will be the 7th research team sponsored by RAC-CA, which currently has research teams covering climate change, criminal justice, immigration, health care, housing and gun violence prevention.

There will be a webinar training for RAC-CA research team members on Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00 PM or Thursday, December 5 at 12:00 PM. They are holding the same webinar on each date, so you only need to attend the webinar that is more convenient for you. This webinar will be useful in orienting you to the work the teams will be doing together. The first online meeting for the Reproductive Rights and Health Team will take place during the week of December 16.

For more information, please contact Deb Lelchuk.

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We strive to live as a holy community whose study and practice of Judaism inspires and challenges us to "do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).