Hadassah

Reproductive Choice

American Affairs | Jul 2014

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., reaffirms its unwavering support for full and complete access to reproductive health care services and a woman’s right to make health decisions according to her own religious, moral, and ethical values.  Hadassah also recognizes the role that reproductive freedom plays in women’s empowerment, economic equity and security. 
 
During the last several years, there has been an onslaught of attacks on women’s reproductive rights. State and federal legislators have considered hundreds of bills that would place onerous and medically unnecessary requirements on patients, physicians, and service providers.  State legislatures have passed over 200 restrictions since 2011.  
 
Hadassah opposes any attempts—through state administrative regulations, legislation, public referendum, or court action—to restrict the right to reproductive choice and/or use of family planning programs delivering any and all services, especially restrictions such as: 

  • abortion bans, particularly those which contain no exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies or situations in which the health of the woman is severely threatened by her pregnancy.
  • personhood amendments which define life as starting at conception.
  • the mandate of medically unnecessary procedures, such as abdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds, as a means to dissuade women from seeking abortions.
  • bans on insurance coverage of abortion, requiring abortion riders in cases of pregnancy by rape or incest and proof of reporting those incidences to law enforcement.  
  • burdensome and needless regulations on women’s health centers aimed to force clinic closures.
  • attempts by private employers to use religious liberty as a means to deny female employees access to low and no cost contraception. 
 
Hadassah is deeply disappointed and concerned by the recent Supreme Court ruling in Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.  Hadassah believes that all attempts should be made to accommodate individual religious liberty and that the government should not force individuals to choose between their conscience and their job. However, Hadassah believes that the right to religious freedom is not absolute and the civil liberties of individuals may need to take precedence over religious accommodations.  
 
In order to ensure the constitutional right to safe and legal reproductive health servicesand support women’s reproductive health internationally, Hadassah calls upon: 
  • U.S. municipal, state, and federal governments to oppose restrictions on access to reproductive health services and to support legislation that will regulate and standardize abortion laws—ensuring quality care, while protecting against unnecessary regulations.  
  • Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prevents low-income women from complete access to abortion coverage, and the Helms Amendment, which prevents any foreign aid to be used for abortion as a method of family planning.   
  • President Obama to work with the relevant federalagencies to reinterpret the Helms Amendment, in the absence of Congressional action, so that funds may be used to save a woman’s life and to help women whobecome pregnant from rape or incest.
  • President Obama and Congress to introduce new policies in response to the Hobby Lobby court decision, which address all undue barriers affecting women’s access to low and no-cost contraception. 
 
Hadassah urges regions and chapters to educate their respective members and communities with regard to any attempt by their own legislatures to restrict or interfere with a woman's reproductive rights and encourages Hadassah units to join in coalitions with freedom of choice advocacy groups, participating as full members in pro-choice activities.

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from any direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, candidates for public office.

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