By Rhoda Smolow & Naomi Adler
This Mother's Day, women and men across America must once again speak out to protect women's autonomy, including the deeply personal decision of if and when to become a mother.
We cannot afford to be disempowered or outraged into inaction by the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that shows how close the court might be to overturning Roe v. Wade. Right now, before it's too late, we must act to pass federal legislation to protect women's reproductive freedom.
The move to reverse Roe v. Wade is a women’s health issue. Without national protection, states will be able to severely restrict, limit and ban access to reproductive health care for millions. For decades, Hadassah has been outspoken about our unwavering support for a woman's right to make health decisions according to our own religious, moral and ethical values. So have our members and supporters around the country.
This week, our Hadassah statement was quoted widely in news reports: "The draft majority Supreme Court opinion disclosed yesterday is an attack on women's autonomy, freedom and health. When a woman's right to choose is limited, we also limit her right to safe, informed medical decisions and procedures. If enacted, this decision will have a disproportionate impact on the empowerment, economic equity and security of women in underserved communities."
There are many other ways we're advancing women's health every day — for all women. Our Hadassah doctors are fighting heart disease, the number one killer of women, and breast cancer, earning Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem's Milstein Heart Center and Sharett Institute of Oncology spots on Newsweek's list of the world's best. Our programs help women live longer, healthier lives, including our virtual walking program Every Move Counts. Hadassah doctors have made strides on COVID-19, including studies on vaccination and pregnancy. We're helping lead the Jewish community on infertility issues. In Poland, Hadassah doctors have treated 14,000 refugees, predominantly women and children.
Today, as that work continues, we're focused on the 500-plus reproductive health restrictions that have been introduced in 42 states, laws that would deny women agency and autonomy. We're encouraged by proactive legislation that protects reproductive rights in some states, but so much more needs to be done.
We know that today can be a heart-wrenching day for those who have lost mothers and those who have lost children. We hold you in our hearts.
This Mother's Day, we're focused on the health of women — all women. And we must protect the rights of all women.
Reproductive freedom plays a key role in women's empowerment, economic equity and security — and in women's overarching health. These are the exact things we want for all women, everywhere, this Mother's Day.