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Rabbi Saperstein: "As Reform Jews committed to the sanctity of a woman's life and personal dignity, and as Americans committed to core Constitutional principles, we are extremely disappointed by the passage of this bill, which would result in greater government interference in what is, at its core, a very private, and often religious, decision."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2013 -- In response to the House of Representative's passage of The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism released the following statement:
Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7, The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, by a 227-188 vote. As Reform Jews committed to the sanctity of a woman's life and personal dignity, and as Americans committed to core Constitutional principles, we are extremely disappointed by the passage of this bill, which would result in greater government interference in what is, at its core, a very private, and often religious, decision.
The Reform Movement holds the core belief that women are moral decision-makers in their own right entitled to make fundamental medical and reproductive choices. A woman should make a decision about whether to have an abortion according to her own beliefs and in consultation with her clergy, her family, and /or her doctor. Politicians and ideologues should not make the decision for her. We believe that religious matters are best left to religious communities and individual conscience, and decisions about health, including what constitutes a life-saving procedure, are best left to patients in consultation with physicians.
H.R.7 further enshrines the "Hyde Amendment" into law, barring any federal government money from being spent on abortion except for in the cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother. This bill would certainly reinforce an unfortunate reality that a woman's ability to fully access her reproductive rights is dependent on where she falls on the income ladder, by prohibiting women who rely on federally administered plans such as Medicaid or the Indian Health Service from using their health care to pay for abortion services. Further, such legislation prevents women seeking needed reproductive health care from using their own, private money to pay for abortion services.
For these reasons, we strongly oppose H.R. 7. This dangerous bill violates the teachings of our faith and severely threatens the right to choice affirmed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.