November 8, 2023 - The Reform Movement in Ohio, supported by Reform Jews across the United States, lead a robust and resilient nationwide effort that culminated in today's resounding passage of Issue One. This initiative will amend the Ohio constitution to establish an individual right to one's own reproductive medical treatment, including but not limited to abortion. Treatment includes contraception, fertility treatments and miscarriage care.
The success of this bill comes after an exhaustive, year-long effort by the Reform movement to get the initiative on the ballot this past spring, defeat a challenge to raise the voter threshold in a special election in August and a seismic get-out-the-vote effort for today's general election. Led by Rabbi Lindsey Danziger of the Religious Action Center (RAC), Reform Jewish congregations and individuals in Ohio and across the nation engaged in an historic mobilization effort that contacted over 436,000 voters by sending over 352,000 text messages, connecting with over 8,000 voters through phone calls and sending over 64,000 postcards to eligible Ohio voters. This action was undertaken during five nationwide textbanks, held in partnership with Women for Reform Judaism (WRJ), and through town halls, post-carding parties and individual outreach.
"From the beginning, we recognized that this effort was not just to protect the reproductive rights of individuals and families; it was also about the ability for us to express our religious freedom as Jews," said Rabbi Danziger. "I am grateful for the steadfast leadership from our Rabbis and synagogue leaders here in Ohio, and all the clergy who joined us in the Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights campaign. We are all incredibly grateful for the Reform Jews across the country who stepped in to help by calling and texting voters and sending postcards with pertinent information for our voters. Despite an overwhelming counter campaign of misinformation and intimidation, the voices of Ohio voters were soundly heard today and the freedom for all families to make decisions for their reproductive futures has been preserved."
Rabbi Liz Hirsch, President of the WRJ added: "On behalf of Women of Reform Judaism, the women's affiliate of the URJ, I applaud the passage of Issue One. Time and again, when abortion is on the ballot, voters act in favor of reproductive freedom. Since 1913, WRJ has been a leading advocate for reproductive rights, grounded in the belief that each person should make health care decisions for themselves. Guided by our tradition, we adhere to the value of kavod habriyot, respect for individual dignity. We celebrate this successful campaign in partnership with RAC OH and our active sisterhoods and women's groups in Ohio."
The Reform movement celebrates the hundreds of volunteers and leaders across Ohio who worked tirelessly in pursuit of their beliefs for the past seven months and recognize their coalition partners who have been fighting for reproductive justice in Ohio for years, especially to protect the rights of those most directly impacted. Special thank you to the RAC's Leo & Libby Nevas Center for Democracy for supporting this work.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.8 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit RAC.org for more. The Religious Action Center's work on democracy and voting rights is made possible in part by the Leo and Libby Nevas Family Foundation.